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Seasonal Raptor Closures to Begin on Friday, Feb. 1, on City Open Space

Raptor closures protect habitat for birds of prey to raise their youngRaptor

The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) will institute seasonal wildlife closures on Friday, Feb. 1, to help protect habitats where birds of prey nest and raise their young. City open space is home to some of the highest-quality cliff-nesting habitat in the western United States. In 2018, this yearly wildlife-protection effort helped raptors nesting on OSMP to raise:

  • Eight ospreys
  • Seven peregrine falcons
  • Seven prairie falcons
  • Five golden eagles
  • One bald eagle

While no designated trails will be closed, OSMP will close the following raptor habitat areas from Feb. 1 to July 31:

  • Mount Sanitas Summit, accessible from the Mount Sanitas Trailhead a half mile west of Fourth Street and Forest Avenue.
  • Third Flatiron, including the East and West Ironing Boards, Queen Anne’s Head and Jaws, and WC Pinnacle, accessible from the Chautauqua Trailhead.
  • Lefthand Canyon Palisades at the intersection of Lefthand Canyon Drive and Olde Stage Road. The Buckingham picnic area remains open.
  • Flagstaff Mountain, the north side of Flagstaff Mountain will be closed. The Boy Scout Trail will remain open.
  • May’s Point cliff. May’s Point Trail will remain open.
  • Skunk Canyon, including Ridges 2, 3 and 4, the Aechean Pronouncement, the Dreadnaught, the North Ridge and the entirety of Sacred Cliffs, accessible from NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • The Back Porch and The Box, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • Bear Creek Spire and Der Freischutz, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • Fern Canyon, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road. The designated Fern Canyon Trail will remain open.
  • Shadow Canyon and the Matron, accessible from the South Mesa Trailhead. The Maiden will remain open and accessible from the east; Shadow Canyon Trail will remain open.
  • The Wings, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • The entire Mickey Mouse wall, including Cryptic Crags, which is accessible from the Goshawk Ridge Trail.

These closures may affect access for climbers. The department encourages climbers to visit the department’s interactive map that shows climbing formations and whether they’re in wildlife closure areas.

OSMP and volunteers will conduct in-depth monitoring of raptor habitats, and closures may be lifted if monitoring indicates nesting attempts have failed or if raptors are not present. OSMP appreciates the support of visitors and our community in respecting these closures, which are patrolled by department rangers. For more information, please visit https://bouldercolorado.gov/osmp/cliff-nesting-raptor-closures  or call the department at 303-441-3440.

Published: Jan. 30, 2019

Media Contacts:
Phillip Yates, Open Space and Mountain Parks, 720-564-2051
Patrick von Keyserling, Media Relations, 303-441-4959

Photo credit: Ben Johnston