When adventuring into Rocky Mountain National Park, part of the excitement is the possibility of spotting incredible wildlife that inhabits the area. From bears and moose, to more than 280 species of birds, animals in RMNP have hundreds of miles of pristine wilderness to call home; and while humans are constantly invading this space, they also play a big hand in helping to protect and preserve too.

Red-tailed Hawk
Photo: Ann Schonlau

During the park's off-season, it's easier for staff to take measures in monitoring and protecting its wildlife. Each year, Rocky Mountain National Park officials initiate temporary closures in the Lumpy Ridge area of the park in order to protect the nesting sites of raptors. Keeping visitors away from where these birds of prey are nesting, ensures that they'll remain undisturbed. Park staff says that the cooperation of individuals and climbing organizations during this time is essential to the successful nesting and breeding of raptors in the park.

Closures went into effect on March 1 and could continue through July 31, if appropriate. This includes the areas of Checkerboard Rock, Lightning Rock, Batman Rock, Batman Pinnacle, Sundance, Thunder Buttress, The Parish, and Twin Owls, Rock One, as well as all climbing routes, outcroppings, cliffs, faces, ascent and descent routes and climber access trails to the named rock formations at these locations. For the most current information on raptor closures, www.nps.gov/romo/planyourvisit/area_closures.htm.

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