Pawnee Buttes Seasonal Closure for Nesting Raptors in Effect

Release Date: May 9, 2017  

Contact(s): Reghan Cloudman

AULT, Colo. – Each year from March 1 to June 30, there is a closure at the Pawnee Buttes to protect nesting raptors, such as golden eagles and prairie falcons. This closure only impacts a portion of the Pawnee Buttes Trail, leaving great opportunities to enjoy the Pawnee National Grassland. Unfortunately, the Forest Service has reports of numerous individuals ignoring this important closure this year.

Raptors are sensitive to human disturbance. Adult birds may abandon their nests in an effort to avoid humans, resulting in eggs being left unattended or available to predators. This can lead to a loss of raptor population. There are fewer nesting raptors in the area than there was 30 years ago, leading the Forest Service to work to increase the number of nesting birds.

Signs clearly mark what areas are closed, including the overlook area behind the wooden fencing. Please be sure to educate yourself about this closure. A map is available online at and on the back of the kiosk at the trailhead.

The Forest Service monitors this area and persons violating the closure are subject to tickets. Tickets can include up to a $5,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to six months. 

If you see nesting birds, observe them from a safe distance to avoid disturbing them. Do not remain near the nests or publicize the locations of nests. Please help do your part to protect raptors on the Pawnee National Grassland.