Hiking trails closed for nesting falcons

SALISBURY/ROCHESTER — Forest Service officials in Vermont will continue with seasonal closures at two prominent cliff sites on the Green Mountain National Forest’s (GMNF) Rochester and Middlebury Ranger Districts. These areas will be temporarily closed in order to prevent disturbance to critical nesting habitat.
Peregrine falcon populations suffered declines due to the use of DDT in the 1940’s but have rebounded since their reintroduction in the 1980’s. Even though peregrines are now considered a recovered species in Vermont, it is critical to minimize human disturbance to nest sites so that the species’ recovery continues. Falcons can already be seen at many nesting sites throughout Vermont. 2018 was another good year for the species; 55 pairs were observed, of which 35 were successful, producing 68 fledglings.
Each spring the Forest Service closes the Rattlesnake Cliff Area (Salisbury) and the Mount Horrid/Great Cliff Area (Rochester) from March 15 – Aug. 1. Information regarding the specific locations for the closure areas is available at Forest Service offices. Forest Service employees post signs to alert the public to let them know trails to the cliff overlooks are closed.
Disturbance of peregrine falcons and/or these nesting grounds is a violation of federal law and may result in a fine up to $5,000 and 6 months in jail. Report any harassment of nesting peregrine falcons to 1-800-75ALERT.

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