Seasonal Closure of Summit Rock for Peregrine Nesting

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Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 14, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
Prof. Clayton White of BYU, one of the world's leading experts on peregrines and their behavior, has sent the following letter to Santa Clara County Parks and members of the SC Parks and Recreation Commission:


As you can see, Prof. White systematically refutes each of the reasons advanced for enforcing a permanent closure of Summit Rock to climbing. He appears to endorse a seasonal closure.

This is very good news indeed!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Mar 14, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
thx Bruce
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2012 - 04:10pm PT
bump
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
Mar 15, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
We will see if they will listen.

Probably not but perhaps then a lawsuit can start.

kev
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2012 - 05:07pm PT
At our meeting in February, SC County Parks sounded much more amenable to a compromise agreement. Wait and see, but be sure to keep your powder dry!
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
Mar 15, 2012 - 05:18pm PT
I'll keep my fingers crossed. This has just taken SO long
and they haven't seemed very reasonable in this matter.
Great letter and great work done by all those involved - especially you Bruce!

thanks!

kev
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Mar 15, 2012 - 07:23pm PT
Thanks, Bruce.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 15, 2012 - 09:19pm PT
As Prof. White notes, our argument for a more reasonable and typical seasonal closure of Summit Rock gets even stronger the more Peregrines that can be found nesting in the wild (not on buildings or other man-made structures) within the confines of Santa Clara County. So if anyone out there has spotted peregrines anywhere else along the Skyline, but particularly within the boundaries of Santa Clara County, it would immensely helpful if you'd say so. There are a pair in Long Ridge Open Space Preserve in the Aquarian Valley/Devil's Canyon region, but I learned that's actually in San Mateo County.

It just seems reasonable that with so much exposed rock in Castle Rock State Park, there must be some nesting peregrines situated there too? Anybody see one?
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2012 - 12:24am PT
bump

Most gratified to receive all the encouragement coming in from ST friends! Lots of people seem to be confronting the same issues up and down the West Coast.
all in jim

climber
Mar 16, 2012 - 12:28am PT
Thanks for all you've done for Summit Rock, Bruce!
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Mar 16, 2012 - 03:19pm PT
Bruce, thanks for the update and for all the back-end work that makes the process move forward in a rational and constructive way.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2012 - 04:26pm PT
Read an article in the SJ Mercury News a while back that said a group of California Condors were seen roosting on top of the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton. However, one of the dominant male condors was also seen out over the Pacific in Half Moon Bay. That means it's not inconceivable that a California Condor or two may be seen overhead at Castle Rock State Park. I know people have mentioned that they've seen some buzzards out there way bigger than Turkey Vultures and they were poo-pooed. Sounds as though it might actually be occurring. Afterall, the distance between Mt. Hamilton and Goat Rock is not that far to traverse on a good thermal.

But has anyone seen more Peregrine falcons at Castle Rock State Park or in Sanborn Skyline County Park? Would certainly counter any argument for the exceptional-ism of the nesting site at Summit.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Mar 16, 2012 - 04:38pm PT
Bruce, if anybody has seen other falcons, it would most likely be you,

so why ask?



Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 16, 2012 - 09:54pm PT
To get other people to look too. I've never seen any except once. You're the only one who saw the pair in Aquarian Valley. I remember that Don Rocha of SC Parks told me he saw some up by the main Castle Rock. Miles Standish seems to have seen some too. He's on FB in Santa Cruz. There may be other people who've seen 'em too. The only time I've ever seen a Peregrine in the wild was at the meeting at Summit Rock last February. A male flew over and made a few noises while our group was assembled down near the eyrie. But if the pair at Summit have fledged a few times since after the blanket closure in 2008 it would stand to reason that they have also been nesting someplace out there in the wild as well. Where?

How about those California Condors? You ever seen one of those big buzzards flying over Castle? Think I may have seen something much, much bigger than a Turkey Vulture flying over Last Temptation Cliff, but had no idea that Condors ventured that far north. Maybe we'll learn something new about California wildlife if everyone keeps their eyes peeled?
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2012 - 04:35pm PT
We appear to have won! SC Parks is going to rephrase the blanket closure of Summit Rock to a more typical seasonal climbing closure to allow for peregrine nesting. This is truly great news! Thanks for all the support out there ST Forumites!

Also, I've been told by the Access Fund that Prof. White's letter can be republished. However, you shouldn't bother him to become involved in your local cases because he's 70 years old, fully retired, and does not want to become a figure embroiled in local controversies. The Internet is a free-public medium and therefore not subject to censorship (unless you live in China or Iran I guess). Prof. White was speaking strictly from a scientific and not a political perspective.

As the ancient Greeks used to say, the scent of Victory is sweet whether it's at Marathon, Salamis or Summit Rock. Again, thank you for all your support. Now we have to all work together to assure that the climbing community, County Parks, and peregrines can all interact toward realizing a common goal: healthy birds and happy climbers and, hopefully, a garbage and glass-free Summit Rock.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2012 - 03:27pm PT
bump-itis.

I think everyone ought to know about this.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Mar 18, 2012 - 03:45pm PT
This is what I hate about liberal zealots. Ya know if they're not careful somebody will go up there and end their reason for a closure.

This is the same road we took on the China trade thread. You put so many stupid f*#king regs in place that do nothing but satisfy your own "good intentions", and then you f*#k everybody else.

The road to hell is paved with stupid, liberal good intentions. What's ironic is that it adversely effects them too. Meh...
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2012 - 04:18pm PT
Blue, the regs that are going to be put in place are the typical, normal seasonal closure ones instituted in every other climbing area in the USA to ensure Peregrine breeding, nesting and fledging. Lots of other groups of climbers are using Prof. White's letter as a basis for enacting more reasonable Peregrine closures in their own areas. So, our negotiations have had far reaching consequences for climbing in the good old USA. Hating post-romantic Nature Nazi zealots might be emotionally satisfying, but remains essentially adolescent and counter-productive. When we brought real science to bear on the problem, we reached a real-world compromise solution everyone can live with. Raging feels good, but doesn't help resolve the fundamental issues. Now we have something to work with. At least we have a working compromise and climbers will be out at Summit this year between August and December and that's the best season to be there anyway.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 18, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
Bruce et al - congrats, it's been a bit of work, but this is a really fine outcome. You should feel good about digging into it, learning the facts, and seeing it through.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2012 - 06:00pm PT
Work! You don't know the half of it, healyje! Driving down from the Meadows to sit stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way to the Santa Clara Civic Center had to be one of the most thoroughly unpleasant things I've done in a long, long time. Sort of like giving Generalissimo Francisco Franco a root canal (or getting one yourself!). Not pretty. Plus you have to go down there again and again to press the issue home. You can see why the average citizen is not involved very much in the political process. You have to be rich or retired to actually have enough time on your hands to push an agenda to a successful conclusion. That leaves issues like this in the hands of a small coterie of political insiders, who really hold the reins of power.

But to give credit where credit is due, you have to also include Paul Minault and the Access Fund who likewise braved traffic to attend crucial meetings. Without the Access Fund and Paul's guidance, we wouldn't have gotten very far at all. He was the one who established a liaison with Prof. White. And of course, there's also the good offices of Planet Granite and Doug Robinson, who drove clear down from Utah I understand, to give his slide show in support of raising funds for Prof. White to fly in from BYU to give his scientific opinion on the peregrine nesting issue. I understand that Paul Minault also consulted with peregrine experts as far away back East as Purdue University.

Just hope this Summit Rock case will serve as a precedent with a ripple effect throughout the climbing community in the whole USA. But of course it's never over until it's over, but it sounds as though climbers will be once again using Summit Rock this late summer.
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