Bureau of Land Management announces efforts to protect birds of prey
Central Ore. -- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Prineville District has started implementing a series of annual wildlife closures to protect several birds of prey species during sensitive nesting periods. Harassment by humans – unintentional or deliberate – is a leading cause of nest failure or abandonment. People walking or riding near a nest—or even being within view of an eagle on a nest—can cause an adult bird to abandon the nest. This means eggs can get cold, young don’t get fed, and the nest is open to predation. The BLM will manage the closures to be lifted once monitoring demonstrates the nest is not being used, the nest has failed, or the young have fledged to allow continued recreation access on public lands.
All public uses will be prohibited in the closure areas including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding/driving.
Depending on the type of bird, closures begin between January 1 through February 1 and continue until August 31. BLM wildlife staff will monitor nests frequently and will lift closures as soon as possible; no sooner than May 15.
The following areas now have seasonal closures in effect:
- Millican Plateau OHV Trail System (Route #95 only) – This one-mile section of the route is closed Jan. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. There are numerous other routes in the area for out-and-back as well as loop rides.
- Tumalo Reservoir – This route is closed January 1 to August 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. Visitors can hike or ride in the northeast corner of this trail area or move east to the Cline Buttes Recreation Area for a similar experience.
- Trout Creek Trail (South side of the Trout Creek Trail only) – Visitors are required to stay on the Trout Creek Trail or between the Trout Creek Trail and the Lower Deschutes River. This area, which includes the Trout Creek climbing walls, is closed from January 15 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Climbers can use other climbing locations such as Rattlesnake, Skinners Butte, or the Gorge at Smith Rocks.
- Cline Buttes Recreation Area – Portions of the Deep Canyon, Fryrear, Maston, and Jaguar Road only are closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternative Trail Use Areas in Cline Buttes include Tumalo Canal Historic Area, the Buttes, and the open portions of the areas listed above.
- Horny Hollow Trail near Crooked River Ranch is closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternate trail sites in the area include Otter Bench, Scout Camp, Folley Waters, and Steelhead Falls.
- Dry River Canyon Trail on the southeast side of the Badlands is closed to protect nesting prairie falcons and golden eagles from February 1 to August 31. Alternate places in the area to recreate include Badlands Rock Trail, Flatiron Trail, and the Horse Ridge Trail Complex.
Bald and golden eagles are protected by three Federal laws: the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Lacey Act. Coverage provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act also extends to prairie falcons.
Violating the closure orders can lead to a fine up to $1,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both. Convictions under the protection acts listed above can be much more severe. The BLM will lift closures earlier if biologists determine a nest is not occupied or the young have left the nest.
For more information about these closures, please call the Prineville BLM office at
(541) 416-6700. Maps of these closures will be posted at the closure areas and will be available on the BLM website at https://www.blm.gov/office/prineville-district-office under the seasonal closure tab.