Annual climbing restrictions are in place in the Bitterroot National Forest
Annual climbing restrictions are now in effect north of Hamilton on the Bitterroot National Forest.
The closures in the Mill Creek area within the Stevensville Ranger District are meant to prevent disturbance of nesting cliff-dwelling raptors.
On the north side of Mill Creek, the spring raptor closure will be the same as last year and includes the “Pie for Strength” climbing area. The closure also includes cliffs on the canyon’s south side due to the presence of additional nests. It's a popular destination for outdoor recreationists.
Forest Service Wildlife Biologists plan to visit the area in the spring to determine if birds are using the nests. If the nests are not active, the restrictions will be lifted.
The Bitterroot National Forest, meanwhile, is developing a comprehensive Climbing Management Plan. Forest officials say the goal is to reduce conflicts, minimize impacts to natural resources and to protect the forests’ unique climbing attributes.