Agencies asking for cooperation, comment regarding falcons
June 7, 2012
By Michele Mihalovich
State wildlife biologists are still asking climbers to stay away from the popular Deception Crag Wall just off interstate 90’s Exit 38 because of a nesting pair of peregrine falcons, and they are asking for public comments about the closure.
Sonny Paz, with the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, said he received a report May 22 that at least one of the eggs had hatched.
“We don’t know if more have hatched, but I’ll be going up this week to see if I can get a look at the nest,” he said.
The peregrine hatchling, or hatchings, should fledge, or leave the nest, about the second week of July, Paz said.
He said climbers have been staying away and cooperating with agencies’ request to give the birds some breathing room, so he expects that closure to continue through the middle of July.
State and federal agencies want public comment about the closing of the area.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. June 12 at Snoqualmie Ranger District, 902 S.E. North Bend Way, North Bend.
Staff from state parks, the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and the Department of Fish and Wildlife will be on hand to discuss the specific areas closed, why the closure was necessary and how closures will be handled in the future.
The area is a combination of State Parks and U.S. Forest Service management, and both agencies are working with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect the peregrine falcon nest through breeding season.
Paz said public comment is required whenever there is any kind of closure of public lands.
He said they will also discuss the possibility of closing the area next year beginning in March.
Paz said it’s likely that one or both of the falcons that nested at the Deception Crag Wall might return the following year.
“We’d like to close the area to climbers in March so the birds feel safe nesting there,” he said.
The birds are on Forest Service land accessed through the Iron Horse Trail State Park and near Olallie State Park. The peregrine is designated a sensitive species and requires the Forest Service to protect its breeding habitat.