News & Updates

There are Birds on Those Cliffs

Leave No Trace - May 18, 2017

Richmond, VA: In climbing areas all across the country, raptors are taking perch to begin their nesting season. These magnificent birds of prey use the shear cliff lines to protect their young from predators. As climbers frequent these same cliffs to test their limits it is imperative to understand the reasons why route closures exist.

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Rangers and volunteers track where the raptors are nesting, how many chicks are in the nest, and if the family is looking healthy. After compiling this information they are then able to make the necessary closures for specific routes and areas.


Many types of birds, and even some bat species, require land management to temporarily close routes for a couple of months or even a season. This is due to the fact that these birds are extremely territorial and in some cases after human contact, raptors have abandoned their chicks for fear of returning predators. While most people would never go out of their way to harm a bird, in most cases regular climbing traffic is the reason for nest abandonment.


Climbing route closures on cliff sides are a common occurrence at designated areas across the country. Commonly during the spring and early summer months, this sensitive time of year requires visitors to be aware of their impact to birds of prey. Use local guidebooks, land management websites and offices to better understand the closures in the area you plan to visit. As climbers, it is our duty to respect route closures, and the birds whose home we are visiting.

Enjoy your world & Leave No Trace,


Steph & Andy

Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Team East

Leave No Trace’s Steph Whatton and Andy Mossey are part of the 2017 Subaru/Leave No Trace Traveling Trainer Program that provides free, mobile education to communities across the country. Proud partners of this program include Subaru of America, REI, Klean Kanteen, ENO, Deuter, Thule, Taxa Outdoors and SmartWool.

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