Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Rangers issue tickets to climbers; search and rescue on Hadley Mt.

forest ranger logoRecent Forest Ranger Actions

Town of Keeseville
Essex County
Protecting Peregrines:
 On April 11, Forest Ranger Sarah Bode cited two rock climbers for Failure to Obey a DEC sign. The tickets were written to a 31-year-old man from Bernardsville, New Jersey, and a 32-year-old woman from New York City for climbing closed routes on Poke O Moonshine. DEC wildlife staff closes certain cliffs and climbing routes to allow peregrine falcons to breed, select a nesting site, and encourage the birds to return to their nesting sites. Once nesting has begun, DEC wildlife staff work with Forest Rangers and other DEC programs in notifying the climbing community and public of these closures and may open climbing routes that can be used without disturbing the nesting falcons and their young. After the young falcons have fledged, climbing routes are opened. The rock climbing community has been cooperative with DEC’s efforts and climbers have volunteered to be observers, monitoring falcons and nesting activity. DEC last issued tickets to climbers for climbing on the closed routes in the early 2000s, and Forest Rangers continue to patrol and enforce these routes.

Town of Hadley
Saratoga County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On April 19 at 8:51 p.m., Warren County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting two lost men on Hadley Mountain. The coordinates provided by 911 placed the hikers about one-half-mile off the trail. The 28-year-old and 24-year-old from Saratoga and Glenville did not have equipment other than their cell phones. Forest Rangers Joe Hess and Tony Goetke responded to their location. At 10:20 p.m., Ranger Hess started in from the trailhead and was able to make verbal contact with the hikers. Once located, Ranger Hess escorted the pair back to the trail and out to the parking lot. The hikers declined further assistance and Rangers cleared the scene.


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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

30 Responses

  1. Nora says:

    The rules apply to everyone and glad to see tickets were given to these two idiots .

  2. Patrick Munn says:

    I so get a kick out of all the folk who think climbers will some how convince the falcons not to breed. My life history included many years of climbing at Poko, pre shut down years included. When the first peregrines started to show up and nest, there were no signs at the cliff telling us not to climb… The falcons made it very clear we were not welcome in that section of the cliff. Getting dive bombed by 200 mph plus angry peregrines made for a very quick departure by the intruding climbers… and the birds nested and produced chicks for several years. Climbers some how figured out not to venture near that energy. And then the state got involved. My question is why hasn’t the NYDEC done any control experiments at these affected cliffs to actually see how climbers truly influence the reproduction habits of the birds… I think it might offer some illumination on something that seems to be a given, that some how, humans will prevent peregrine falcons from reproducing…. If memory serves me correctly, it was the chemical DDT that killed off the falcons, not climbers. The birds will re-produce, it is in their DNA. Leave a Peregrine occupied cliff open to climbers and just see what happens. If DEC feels a need to have control then put up signs advising climbers that the birds are present and climb at your own risk..

    • Steve B. says:

      “why hasn’t the NYDEC done any control experiments at these affected cliffs”

      I’m certain the DEC budget is just overflowing with the money for this.

      Obviously some studies have been made, thus the reason for the periodic closure.

    • Todd Eastman says:

      Pat, rumor has it you had a good recipe for peregrine…

      … wasn’t there some rosemary and garlic involved??

    • Boreas says:


      Peregrine falcons are considered a migratory species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and it is actually a FEDERAL crime to interfere with their nests or nesting. If a bird is stressed that you are near (vocalizing), leaves the nest to investigate you, or dive-bombing you, you are interfering with its nesting. Peregrines nest on cliffs for a reason – they don’t like predators. As far as they are concerned, if they can see you, you are a potential predator and this is a source of stress. It may not cause a nest failure, but next year, they may not return at all.

      The other part of the problem is eggs or nestlings being taken for illegal (black market) trade in the legal practice of falconry. DEC also has to guard against this, so if no one is near the nest, all is well. It is also worth noting that these cliffs aren’t off limits year-round, just the nesting season.

    • scott van Laer says:

      “The birds will re-produce, it is in their DNA.” – Pat Munn

    • Suzanne says:

      Is it that really terribly difficult stay away during the short period when the peregrines are nesting and rearing their young? There are plenty of other places to climb. Leave the birds alone and go somewhere else. There is no shortage of rocks in the Adirondacks.

  3. adkDreamer says:

    “New York City has one of the densest urban peregrine falcon populations in the world” and “Today, New York City has twenty-five [sic: pairs] and peregrines have been removed from the federal endangered species list (although they remain on New York States’ list)”

    New York City offers peregrine falcons excellent nesting sites and plenty of prey, easy pickings apparently. More likely than not NYC is a better option for peregrine falcons than Poke-O-Moonshine.

    • Boreas says:

      They do love cities. Even if they don’t nest there, they will hunt there. The ‘Gunks were an early part of the hacking projects in NYS. It didn’t take them long to find NYC. Pigeons are easy pickings. I see them quite often hunting in Plattsburgh. They particularly like Consumer Square.

    • Suzanne says:

      Are you suggesting that peregrine falcons should all just pick up their feathers and move to New York City because the pickin’s are better there? 25 breeding pairs hardly constitute a “dense” population. Is it so very difficult for selfish people to find some other place to climb for a month or two while the peregrines breed and care for their young? Pok O Moonshine isn’t the only mountain in the world, and you are not the owner of it. Get over yourself, please.

      • adkDreamer says:

        Ego sum non autcur. Tu arguere cum tu. Placeo melius est petere fontem quam sectari rivulos.

  4. Patrick Munn says:

    Thank you adkDreamer… point made.
    Todd, really, I was too damn scared to close the distance…

    Steve B. I think DEC has jobs they are trying to keep and so justify them by keeping recovered birds such as the peregrine “endangered” .

    • Boreas says:

      Peregrines have been delisted since 1999, but it is still illegal to interfere with nesting. Because it is a federal treaty, DEC cannot simply choose to ignore it. This protection is not unique to the ADKs.

  5. Patrick Munn says:

    Boreas, what is the definition of “illegal to interfere” ? As stated in my original post, peregrines were present at Poko and were reproducing, with climbers still climbing, before the state got involved… What part of that is not clear?

    • Boreas says:


      Your post was clear, but re-read my first note to you. Simply reproducing isn’t the criteria, it is nesting and raising young without intentional interference. Any time the adult leaves the nest to investigate a human threat, it is stress and interference. Any time a bird begins vocalizing because of a perceived threat, it is a stress and considered interference. Interference can result in eggs getting too cold to hatch, nestlings getting too cold or not being fed often enough to thrive. This nesting stress or mortality due to interference can result in nesting failure or the birds not returning to a habitual nesting location in prime habitat. And this is true with virtually any bird, but each species has its own tolerance. Nesting raptors are particularly intolerant of human approach. If they have to vocalize, leave the nest to investigate or try to chase you away, you are too close.

      If you unknowingly disturb a nest, it isn’t likely to result in any action by authorities. But when areas are properly closed to protect species with signage present, one should probably follow the rules. I don’t make the laws, nor am I trying to distinguish between right and wrong. I am just informing you of the types of protection of migratory species in general. I also failed to note that while Peregrines are no longer listed and endangered nationally, they are still listed as endangered in NYS. Whether illegal or not, we need to be aware of how our activities in nature effects other creatures. We have a choice to knowingly interfere or give nature a wide berth. The choice is ultimately yours, but be aware of all of the consequences.

      • Nora says:

        Excellent response Boreas

      • Boreas says:

        Another consequence to be aware of is an attack by a peregrine – especially if you are surprised by it – could be hazardous to your health and others with you.

  6. Patrick Munn says:

    I wish memory served me better but, as I recall, it was at least 3 or 4 years… maybe a couple more, before the state came in and started posting. The falcons returned every year, established nests, and fledged chicks prior to the postings, at least at Poko… Most of what is being declared here as reality is not what myself and my climbing partners experienced… hence a control cliff today would be informative… The bird is not endangered… why not do the study?

    • Boreas says:


      Ranger Scott van Laer who posted above may be able to fill in many of the blanks. It would certainly do no harm to contact DEC and let them know your frustration and perhaps they could shed some light into the changes you mention and possibly consider the study. I remember cliffs being posted at certain parking lots in Wilmington Notch going back many decades for ravens and peregrines. I was not a climber, so I can’t say what the signage was like at the base of the routes. I believe DEC only closes routes where there are active nests, so as active nests move around, so would the closures.

      Stay safe!

    • Suzanne says:

      Boreas is very clear. Most birds will leave when their nest is disturbed.The state came and started posting for a reason, to protect the falcons. Why is it so difficult for you and your climbing buddies to leave Pok O’ Moonshine and the falcons in peace for such a short time? Haven’t you any other place to climb? The falcons are coming back from near extermination, whether you choose to disbelieve it or not. Can’t you leave them alone for a month? Being selfish is not a good moral quality.

      • Steve B. says:


        I think accusing the DEC employees of deliberately posting no climbing in an area you like to visit, for the reason of maintaining their jobs, shows poor ethical and moral judgement.

  7. Adkchj says:

    These are the kind of folks that should be fined or given a bill for services tendered. In addition to being so unprepared putting others at risk to rescue the ignorant.

  8. AdkAck81 says:

    Let the Knuckleheads find there own way off the Mt.

    This is getting ridiculous

  9. Patrick Munn says:

    I agree… signing off.

  10. William steele says:

    Being a dec retired employee from the lake George area,if a ranger posts signage for non oublis use. There is a reason. Why do we have to destroy wildlife just to have zone social pleasure. Protect the environment at all costs for future generations to enjoy.kudos to park rangers.

    • Nora says:

      Totally agree Mr. William Steele and that you for your service in protecting the Adirondacks .

  11. Rc says:

    if you’re too self-important to ignore posted signs and allow wildlife to exist, stay in NJ and climb some indoor mall rockface. Please.

    • Anita Dingman says:

      That is the big problem here. So many NY city and New Jersey people think that we are all woodchucks so they think they don’t have to follow our rules. They don’t appreciate wildlife, just their own desires. Hope they got BIG fines and, in my opinion, they should have had their climbing gear taken away.