AZGFD
Pictured: A perched bald eagle.

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Bald eagle breeding season brings park closures statewide

01/17/18

ARIZONA — Each year as part of its highly successful program to manage and conserve bald eagles in the state, the Arizona Game and Fish Department asks outdoor recreationists, aircraft pilots, drone operators and motorized paragliders to help this magnificent bird in Arizona by avoiding nesting areas.
Various land and wildlife management agencies have closed areas around breeding locations to protect the state’s 67 breeding pairs of bald eagles. Some closure areas are located near popular recreation sites, including areas near Cave Creek.
“Arizona’s bald eagle populations continue to grow each year, and that success wouldn’t be possible without the cooperation of outdoor recreationists who respect the closures during breeding season,” said Kenneth Jacobson, AZGFD bald eagle management coordinator. “We continue to work to create increased awareness among aircraft pilots, drone operators and motorized paragliders about the closures.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has established a 2,000-foot above ground level advisory along the Salt and Verde rivers and riparian areas; drones and paragliders are being asked to avoid the areas completely.  Even short durations of low-flying aircraft near their nests can cause a nesting failure, according to AZGFD.
If you are visiting bald eagle country call the local land management agency, or AZGFD so you can plan your trip without disturbing the nesting bald eagles.
These are this year’s seasonal closures:

  • Verde River: Contact Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger District, 480-595-3300; Coconino National Forest, Sedona Ranger District 928-282-4119; or Prescott National Forest, Verde Ranger District 928-567-4121, for updates depending on the area you plan to visit.
  • Tonto Creek: contact Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District 928-467-3200.
  • Salt River: Contact Tonoto National Forest, Globe Ranger District, 928-402-6200; Tonto National Forest, Tonto Basin Ranger District 928-467-3200; Tonto National Forest, or the Mesa Ranger District 480-610-3300, depending on the area you plant to visit.
  • Crescent Lake: Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville Ranger District 928-333-4372.
  • Greer Lake: Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Springerville Ranger District, 928-333-4372.
  • Lake Pleasant: Contact Maricopa County Parks and Recreation, 928-501-1710.
  • Luna Lake: Contact Apache National Forest, Alpine Ranger District, 928-339-4384.
  • Lynx Lake: Contact Prescott National Forest, Bradshaw Ranger District for updates, 928-443-8000.
  • Show Low Lake: Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Lakeside Ranger District, 928-368-2100.
  • Whitehorse Lake: Contact the Kaibab National Forest, Williams Ranger District 928-635-5600. 
  • Woods Canyon Lake: Contact the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Black Mesa Ranger District, 928- 535-7300.

You can help bald eagle research and recovery efforts by reporting any harassment or shooting of bald eagles by contacting Arizona Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at www.azgfd.gov/ogt, call the hotline at 800-352-0700, or contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement at 480-967-7900.