New raptor monitoring program in the South Platte will provide greater climbing access

Date: 3/15/2011

Home to the iconic Wunsch’s Dihedral and Center Route on Cynical Pinnacle, as well as Topographical Oceans on the Dome, the Cathedral Spires area will see a new change in climbing management by Jefferson County Open Space. Jefferson County has been a leader in raptor protection policies that provide a good balance between public access and wildlife protection, yet for many years, resource managers lacked the resources and legal access necessary to actively monitor the expansive Cathedral Spires area. As a result, a blanket closure was enforced from March 1st to July 31st every year.

We are pleased to announce that the County recently gained legal access from a municipal water district, which will enable annual monitoring at Cathedral Spires, preventing a blanket closure. A full area closure is expected from March 1st through the end of April. During this time, the County will locate active nest sites, evaluate the minimum buffer size, and implement spot closures.

We thank all of the local advocates that expressed their concerns about the closure with Jefferson County. In the last five years specifically, local climber Jason Haas of Fixed Pin Publishing took an active role in working with the county to address the issue. In addition, Jefferson County Park Ranger Mike Morin played an instrumental role in helping redesign the management plan with Jefferson County. The Access Fund assisted with outreach and site visits to the Cathedral Spires and will continue to advise on climbing management.

Stay tuned for an update in May regarding access to specific crags at http://status.accessfund.org. If you are interested in their volunteer raptor monitoring program, contact Jefferson County Open Space about joining a training session.

For more information, see the Access Fund's raptor management policy.