Part of the beauty of Smith Rock State Park is its raptor presence.
Every year we watch and wait to see what is happening with the raptor breeding areas and post updates here and on Facebook for climbing route, highlines, and camping area closures, as well as activity restrictions along the Canyon Trail for hiking. See below for those currently affected.
For those of you coming here from out of the area, please note closures only affect a small number of all the routes in the park, and hiking trails remain open, with some advisories.
NORMALLY the closure is February 1-July 31 for golden eagles in the Monument Area, although it is lifted as of May 9, 2019. (See below) The West Side Crags birds of prey nesting areas usually reopen by the end of June, and as of June 26, 2019 it also is lifted. See below for the latest updates.
BALD EAGLES CAMPING CLOSURES: Feb 8—aug 1, 2018
Bivy Campground Canyon Rim tent sites are closed as of the dates above. Look for posted signage in the affected areas. The rest of the campground is open, only a few tent sites are closed along the rim.
Please observe photography rules put in effect recently due to large crowds across from the nesting area on the Bivy Campground Rim:
DOGS ARE NOT PERMITTED ON THE RIM BEHIND THE CLOSURE SIGNS OR WITHIN DIRECT LINE OF SIGHT OF THE RAPTORS.
CHAIRS ARE NOT PERMITTED WITHIN LINE OF SIGHT OF THE NEST. THIS ALSO APPLIES TO OTHER GEAR BESIDES CAMERAS.
TOTAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE AT THE SITE IS LIMITED TO A MAXIMUM OF 7, WITH A MAXIMUM OF 5 CAMERAS SET UP FOR ALL 7 PEOPLE
LET PARK STAFF KNOW AT 541-548-7501 IF YOU OBSERVE VISITORS NOT FOLLOWING THE GROUND RULES.
NO PARKING IN THE CAMPGROUND PARKING LOT. PICKUPS AND DROP OFFS ARE OK IF YOU HAVE SOMEONE WHO CAN STAY WITH THE CAR, ARE NOT TAKING UP A PARKING SPOT, AND NOT BLOCKING TRAFFIC.
TRY TO SCHEDULE YOUR VISIT ON WEEKDAYS OR IN LESS THAN IDEAL WEATHER CONDITIONS.
Please observe the Bald Eagle Courtesy signs along the Canyon Trail. Essentially in the sensitive areas marked, the park is asking the following:
KEEP NOISE TO A MINIMUM
DO NOT LOITER & STAY ON TRAIL
TRAVEL IN GROUPS OF 4 OR LESS
GOLDEN EAGLES CLIMBING ROUTE CLOSURES: CLOSURES LIFTED AS OF MAY 9, 2019
SAD NEWS MAY 9, 2019:
Just a couple of weeks ago we were encouraging you to take advantage of the scopes to see the Golden Eagles nesting set up at the Northern Point by volunteer and birder Steve Lay (AKA “The Snake Charmer of Smith Rock”). Hopefully you got a chance to take a peek at the activity then, as the eaglet has died sometime since then.
PRAIRIE FALCON CLIMBING CLOSURE: CLOSURES LIFTED AS OF June 26, 2019
SAD NEWS JUNE 26, 2019: NO BABIES THIS YEAR
Former Smith Rock Park Naturalist David Vick was able to check on the Prairie Falcon nest at First Kiss. He spent a couple of hours in the morning at the observation point again and never saw or heard any falcons. Vick was surprised, because even if they nested late this year one would still expect to hear a lot noise as the young are extremely vocal. Apparently they have abandoned this site for whatever reason. Perhaps one of the pair died or they could be nesting elsewhere in the park or nearby as there are thousands of potential nest sites and he continues to see them flying through the park.
PEREGRINE FALCONS: NO CLOSURE
A LITTLE SAD HISTORY FROM 2018:
Last year the first male Peregrine Falcon of the pair got into a fight and died. The female Peregrine Falcon found a new mate in late June, but not in time for last year’s nesting season. She found a new buddy were hanging out together at Picnic Lunch Wall, then in early May he too got injured in a fight with another raptor. He was found at Ranch of the Canyons and is was being rehabilitated at a local raptor rehab facility. Park management determined with certainty that the injured falcon is the male from the Smith Rock pair. The female was not able to incubate and raise the chicks on her own so the nest was abandoned.