Rock Creek Day Use Area Closed to Protect Nesting Bald Eagles

Eagle with Chick

 

The Rock Creek Day Use Picnic Area located near Rock Creek Reservoir southeast of Mt. Hood is closed to public use until September 1, 2011 because a resident pair of bald eagles is nesting in a large ponderosa pine within the area.  The eagle pair nested in the same area last year and had at least one successful fledgling leave the nest. This year, at least one eaglet is currently in the nest.  By implementing the area closure, Mt. Hood National Forest intends to avoid disturbing the nesting eagles as disturbances can lead to the adult eagles abandoning the nest, leaving the eaglet in a very dangerous situation.

 

Although no longer on the endangered list under the terms of the Endangered Species Act, bald eagles are still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Act) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.   The Eagle Act prohibits anyone from disturbing or agitating an eagle to a degree that interferes with normal breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior. 

 

 It is a rare opportunity to share in the responsibility of protecting this eagle nesting site. In order to protect the site, camping, off highway vehicle use, and fires are prohibited within the protected area surrounding the nest. By closing the Rock Creek Day Use Picnic Area, a buffer is created between the eagle nest and human activity.  Individuals who violate this area closure are subject to a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to six months or both.

 

The Rock Creek Reservoir boat ramp will remain open for launching of boats. However, vehicles will not be allowed to park adjacent to the boat ramp and will need to park further away from the nest in an open area located to the south.  As Barlow District Ranger Mike Hernandez explains, “We are asking people to abide by the area closure so the eagles remain undisturbed and people can continue recreating safely in nearby Rock Creek Reservoir.”  Forest Service biologists will be available near the area closure on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend to provide conservation education opportunities to the recreating public and have even found a vantage point from which news media and visiting public can view the nesting eagles without disturbing them.

 

For more information regarding the area closure, please follow this link to view the forest order. To view a gallery of additional photos of the eagles  click here. 





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