So after the climbing community gave the Bureau of Land Management the business for its "emergency closure" of the popular crack climbing spot, the BLM rescinded and is now calling the closure "voluntary." See? Sometimes government agencies do listen.
As of Feb. 1, the Trout Creek climbing area was officially closed in an effort to allow golden eagles an opportunity to nest in peace. The thing is, the eagles haven't successfully procreated near the crags since 2002. Climbers argue that they're environmentalists too and want what's best for the land, but feel dissed after they were originally left out of the BLM's decision-making process.
Now the BLM seems to be listening. Friends of Trout Creek, a climbing community group, is calling the voluntary closure, an agreement reached on Feb. 17, a "a great gesture of good faith by the BLM."
Full press release from the BLM below:
BLM asks public to help protect golden eagles PRINEVILLE, Ore. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Prineville District Office is replacing an earlier wildlife closure with a voluntary closure for the Trout Creek Recreation Area. This shift allows BLM to better communicate objectives, provide information about golden eagles and local habitat, and complete an ongoing environmental assessment analyzing management options with maximum public involvement.
The voluntary closure maintains open access on the developed Trout Creek Trail and between the Trout Creek Trail and the Lower Deschutes River. Through the voluntary closure, the BLM asks the public to choose recreation locations other than those south and east (uphill) of the Trout Creek Trail until the BLM can determine if golden eagles will occupy nesting sites this year. The nesting season for Golden Eagles begins February 1, and if nests are occupied, extends through
The Lower Deschutes Wild & Scenic River has abundant recreation opportunities, including fishing, floating, camping, wildlife and scenic viewing. In addition to providing exceptional crack climbing, the local Trout Creek area includes traditional nesting habitat for golden eagles. Nesting raptors are sensitive to human disturbance. Monitoring data shows that golden eagles annually occupy nests in the local territory but have only successfully reproduced once since 2002. Representatives from the BLM Prineville District will work with local organizations and community groups to discuss alternate recreation opportunities while sharing responsibility to ensure nesting potential for golden eagles in the Trout Creek area.
The BLM balances the protection of natural resources while providing access and use to public lands. If you’d like to be included in the mailing list for the environmental assessment for this project please email your contact information to: BLM_OR_PR_Mail@blm.gov (Subject Line: ATTN: Trout Creek).
(photo: Ben Herndon, benherndon.com)