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April Raptor / Climbing Advisories Update · Pinnacles National Park Joins National Find Your Park Movement · Raptor Monitoring / Climbing Advisories Update · Our Hero! One Small Climber's Big Effort For the Cause · Trash Problems At The Park · 2015 Raptor Monitoring Report · Pinnacles Partnership Funds Viewing Scopes at the Park

April Raptor Monitoring / Climbing Advisories Update (4/12/2015)

Hey Everyone -

Here is an update on raptor activity at Pinnacles National Park for the 5 weeks.

Prairie falcons (PRFA) have selected nest sites and are incubating eggs. Two peregrine falcon (PEFA) pairs - one that nested last year for the tenth consecutive year at Hawkins and another that nested at Balconies for the first time in 50 years - wintered at the park. The peregrine falcon pairs have both been observed in the Hawkins and Balconies areas respectively... So far the Balconies pair has been confirmed incubating eggs, and the Hawkins pair is finishing nest site selection. A third PEFA pair has been observed sporadically at Drywall Slide and appears to be occupying the area as a feeding territory. At present the following have been documented: 8 territories with PRFA pairs, 1 more territories with at least a single prairie falcon, and the 3 PEFA territories. These are listed below:

  • Goat Rock / Resurrection Wall: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair
  • General Balconies: PEFA pair, nest confirmed
  • South Balconies: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Citadel: PRFA pair, likely abandoned area
  • Willow Spring Slide: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • Drywall Slide: PEFA pair
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair, nest confirmed
  • South Chalone Peak: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • NE Section 15: PRFA pair, nest confirmed

The following territories are currently unoccupied, with no prairie falcons observed within them:

  • Pig Canyon
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks)
  • North Balconies
  • Machete Ridge
  • Scout Peak
  • Western Front
  • Discovery Wall
  • Pipsqueak Pinnacles
  • Frog / Hand
  • Piedras Bonitas / Gargoyle / Prescribed Burn Cliffs
  • Tugboat
  • D. Soto Canyon
  • Guard Rock
  • Rocks West of Chalone Housing
  • Mating Rocks / Tugboat
  • North Wilderness Rock
  • South Wilderness Rock

In general, PRFA activity this season seems to be proceeding normally in regards to annual occupancy and courtship schedules, though overall numbers of PRFA pairs are a bit lower than average. PEFA activity has also been observed at Little Pinnacles and the Reservoir, likely representing falcons from the Hawkins pair that are hunting for pigeons and other potential prey.

Please note that climbing and hiking advisories are in effect as of January 20th. Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, and Little Pinnacles, to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of off-trail hiking and climbing during the upcoming nesting season. Updated raptor advisory brochures / handouts are available at the east side Pinnacles Visitor Center and the west side Visitor Contact Station. Any assistance park staff can provide in diverting visitors from advisory areas, and reporting incidents of climbers and hikers in advisory areas to law enforcement staff, is highly appreciated!

Golden eagles have also been seen regularly in and near the park over the past month. No nesting activity has been confirmed yet.

Nests have been confirmed for other raptor species as well. These include 7 red-tailed hawk nests, 2 red-shouldered hawk nests, and an American kestrel nest. Cooper's and sharp-shinned hawks are active throughout the park along riparian corridors, and are beginning to focus on potential nesting territories for late-season nesting efforts. Great-horned owls have been heard vocalizing in Condor Gulch, Bear Gulch, the Pinnacles Campground, Pig Canyon, near Scout Peak, and near Machete Ridge. Long-eared owls have been observed at the north extent of the North Wilderness Trail.

Thank you to all the staff who have continued to provide me with raptor observations; every detail on raptor behavior helps to provide a more complete picture of raptor breeding at the park. If anyone on staff wishes to report raptor observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please fill out a wildlife observation card, and deposit it in my box in the RRM Office. Also note that Paul Johnson, Joseph Belli, Megan Gnekow, and Aly Schmidt are part of the raptor monitoring team for 2015 and will be assisting with surveys. If you can't get a hold of me for questions, feel free to ask or pass along observations to them as well.

In addition, thanks to Mike Shelley, Mike Baird, Jack Peabody, Dan Ryan, Brent Johnson, Arianna Punzalan, Rose Fielding, and Alacia Welch for raptor observations. I appreciate the support!

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me through email or extension 276. Thanks!

GAVIN EMMONS * Raptor / Condor Biologist
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, CA 95043 * 831-389-4486 x276
Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park Joins National Find Your Park Movement (4/1/2015)

National Park Week 2015 Encourages Everyone To Find Your Park
               
Paicines, CA - Pinnacles National Park joins parks, programs, and partners across the country to encourage everyone to find their park and share their stories online at FindYourPark.com. Launched yesterday by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, Find Your Park is a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for its second century of service.

Find Your Park invites the public to see that a national park can be more than a place -- it can be a feeling, a state of mind, or a sense of American pride. Beyond vast landscapes, the campaign highlights historical, urban, and cultural parks, as well as the National Park Service programs that protect, preserve and share nature, culture, and history in communities nationwide.

"Find Your Park" is also the theme for this year's National Park Week, April 18-26. Pinnacles will be celebrating the National Park Service centennial during National Park Week 2015. There will be special programs throughout the week. The weekend will end with an Earth Day Habitat Restoration Service Event on Saturday April 25, 2015 from 9:30 am - 1 pm meeting on the Visitor Center on the eastside of the park. Find your park and take an active part in preserving it by lending a helpful hand. Event details can be found at the volunteer.gov website.

"National Park Week provides a great opportunity for visitors of all ages to come out and explore their National Parks," said Superintendent Karen Beppler-Dorn. "We invite you to celebrate National Park Week and find your park in Pinnacles National Park."

Visit www.NationalParkWeek.org to learn more about how you can join parks, programs, and partners in celebrating National Park Week across the country.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Raptor Monitoring / Climbing Advisories Update (3/16/2015)

Hey Everyone -

Here is an update on raptor activity at Pinnacles National Park for the 5 weeks.

Prairie falcons (PRFA) have established territories and are engaging in courtship displays and site preparations for nesting. Two peregrine falcon (PEFA) pairs – one that nested last year for the tenth consecutive year at Hawkins and another that nested at Balconies for the first time in 50 years – wintered at the park. The peregrine falcon pairs have both been observed in the Hawkins and Balconies areas respectively, calling to each other, engaging in courtship displays, defending the territories by chasing other birds (condors, hawks, and ravens) out of the areas, and inspecting potential nest sites. A third PEFA pair was briefly observed at Drywall Slide in January has not been seen again, and a PRFA pair is now occupying the Drywall territory.

At present the following have been documented: 7 territories with PRFA pairs, 3 more territories with single prairie falcons, and the 2 PEFA territories. These are listed below:

  • Goat Rock / Resurrection Wall: PRFA pair
  • Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair
  • General Balconies: PEFA pair
  • South Balconies: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair
  • Machete / Citadel: PRFA pair
  • Willow Spring Slide: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Drywall Slide: PRFA pair
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair
  • South Chalone Peak: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • NE Section 15: PRFA pair

The following territories are currently unoccupied, with no prairie falcons observed within them:

  • Pig Canyon
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks)
  • North Balconies
  • Scout Peak
  • Western Front
  • Discovery Wall
  • Pipsqueak Pinnacles
  • Frog / Hand
  • Piedras Bonitas / Gargoyle / Prescribed Burn Cliffs
  • Tugboat
  • D. Soto Canyon
  • Guard Rock
  • Rocks West of Chalone Housing
  • Mating Rocks / Tugboat
  • North Wilderness Rock
  • South Wilderness Rock

In general, PRFA activity this season seems to be proceeding normally in regards to annual occupancy and courtship schedules. Some of the unoccupied territories listed above may have active falcon pairs that arrive later in the season by late March or early April. The territorial PEFA pair at Balconies is also occupying the Machete territory, and advisories are in effect to include the upper southwest face of Machete as a partial advisory area for the season.

Please note that climbing and hiking advisories are in effect as of January 20th. Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, and Little Pinnacles, to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of off-trail hiking and climbing during the upcoming nesting season. Updated raptor advisory brochures / handouts are available at the east side Pinnacles Visitor Center and the west side Visitor Contact Station. Any assistance park staff can provide in diverting visitors from advisory areas, and reporting incidents of climbers and hikers in advisory areas to law enforcement staff, is highly appreciated!

Golden eagles have also been seen regularly in and near the park over the past month. No nesting activity has been confirmed yet.

Other raptors observed in the park in February and early March include American kestrels, and red-shouldered hawks have been seen in the Pinnacles Campground, in McCabe Canyon, and along the fire road near the Bench Trail junction, perching in valley oaks, vocalizing, and beginning to add stick material to nest constructs. Red-tailed hawk pairs are actively courting and preparing nests in Rose Canyon, near the Butterfield Barn, in Pig Canyon, Crowley Drainage, and near Frog and Hand. Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks are active throughout the park along riparian corridors. Great-horned owls have been heard vocalizing in Condor Gulch, Bear Gulch, the Pinnacles Campground, Pig Canyon, near Scout Peak, and near Machete Ridge. Long-eared owls have been observed at the north extent of the North Wilderness Trail.

Thank you to all the staff who have continued to provide me with raptor observations; every detail on raptor behavior helps to provide a more complete picture of raptor breeding at the park. If anyone on staff wishes to report raptor observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please fill out a wildlife observation card, and deposit it in my box in the RRM Office. Also note that Joseph Belli and Aly Schmidt will be part of the raptor monitoring team for 2015 and will be assisting with surveys. If you can't get a hold of me for questions, feel free to ask or pass along observations to them as well.

In addition, thanks to Mike Shelley, James Bouknight, Matt McCarthy, Jack Peabody, Paul Johnson, Sierra Willoughby, Linda Regan, Dan Ryan, Jennie Jones, Brent Johnson, Arianna Punzalan, and Alacia Welch for raptor observations. I appreciate the support!

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me through email or extension 276. Thanks!

_
GAVIN EMMONS * Raptor / Condor Biologist *
5000 Highway 146, Paicines, CA 95043 * 831-389-4486 x276 *
Pinnacles National Park

Our Hero! One Small Climber's Big Effort For the Cause (2/8/2015)

Our Hero is an understatement.

Teagan on Twinkle Toes

Teagan on the West Side classic, Twinkle Toes

Sometimes, here at FOP, when we are in the middle of all the rebolting, the updates, the newsletters, etc. and one more person says, without thinking, "Hey, why haven't you replaced the anchors on...?", we can't help feeling a bit unappreciated. Of course, in our hearts we know that people are aware of our work. The occasional donations and pats on the back from FOP members and the Park Service are greatly appreciated and do go a long way towards keeping our spirits up.

But every once in a blue moon something amazing happens. In this instance, it took the rather surprising form of a 9-year-old girl from Monterey.

Teagan started climbing when she was 4 and has made several trips to the Pinnacles to climb with her father, Charles.

When Teagan and her fourth-grade classmates were assigned to organize fund-raisers for the non-profits of their choice, she researched her options. Instead of going with a well-established, large non-profit group, Teagan decided to focus on local groups related to rock climbing. She finally chose Friends Of Pinnacles, not just because they fit the criteria, but also because they were not well known. Teagan liked the idea of teaching people about an unfamiliar group and what it is doing to help, along with raising funds to support an activity in which she participates.

With a little help from her father (who runs the Sanctuary Rock climbing gym in Monterey) and her mother, Melissa, Teagan planned a bake sale to be held at the climbing gym. Demonstrating cunning market strategy, she put up announcements a few days before the event, and a donation jar, so people would know to bring their appetites and pocket books, while also giving those who could not attend an opportunity to contribute.

The night before the event, Teagan baked dozens of muffins from scratch and prepared several pitchers of lemonade.

The Bake Sale was a huge success and Teagan brought in over $120 on the day. Additional donations brought the total to just over $220.

We here at FOP are blown away. This kind of effort is truly above and beyond. We are sending this special thank you to Teagan with additional thanks to her parents, Charles and Melissa, and all of those gym patrons who were willing to contribute to Teagan's cause.

Charles Schrammel runs Sanctuary Rock Gym in Monterey.

Trash Problems At The Park (2/5/2015)

As many of you are already aware, the trash problem has increased dramatically since the Park officially became a National Park. Visitor counts are way up and along with it seems to come the garbage.

As you can see from the correspondence below, FOP is trying to do what it can.

Climbers are generally already aware of the need to clean up after themselves, but there is more that we can all do.

Next time you go climbing you might:

  1. Carry several, medium-sized garbage bags in your pack
    Clip one outside your pack and fill it as you hike
  2. Inform the Park of what you find and/or collect
    It is best if you send an email on the day of your cleanup; this way there is a record of your work
  3. Let FOP know what you did and we will post it in our ongoing effort to raise awareness and document efforts
  4. We are talking about organizing some cleanups, but don't wait for us - you can organize your own cleanups.
    A great way to do this is to get a group of people together for a climbing day, knock off a couple hours early and do cleanup on the way back to the cars.

Please feel free to contact FOP if you have other information or suggestions.

Here's a copy of the note Bruce sent to the park:

Clint and I were at the Pinnacles to rebolt the Hatchet yesterday(which, as it turns out has already been rebolted) and ran across all this trash in and around the climber's trail as it passes Ridge Rock. The final tally was:

  • 43 glass bottles
  • 46 aluminum cans
  • 3 tin cans
  • 13 plastic bottles
  • 23 oyster shells(!)

See the attached photo.

Clearly, some group of people have been going up there and having some sort of party/ritual and just tossing their refuse in the bushes. As a bit of forensic intel, the date markings on some of the bottles was 7/2011. It would be nice to ban glass bottles on the Park's trails though maybe that would just mean more aluminum cans.

Sincerely,

Bruce Hildenbrand (FOP)


2015 Raptor Monitoring Report & Climbing Advisories (2/4/2015)

For those who don't know me, my name is Gavin Emmons, and I have returned for a 13th season as the raptor biologist at Pinnacles National Park. I just wanted to send everyone an update as to the status of raptors for the past month.

Prairie falcons (PRFA) have returned to Pinnacles and are establishing territories and engaging in courtship displays. Two peregrine falcon (PEFA) pairs – one that nested last year for the tenth consecutive year at Hawkins and another that nested at Balconies for the first time in 50 years – wintered at the park. The peregrine falcon pairs have both been observed in the Hawkins and Balconies areas respectively, calling to each other, engaging in courtship displays, and defending the territories by chasing other birds (condors, hawks, and ravens) out of the areas. A third PEFA pair was briefly observed chasing pigeons at Drywall Slide. Additional surveys will help us determine if this pair was migrating through the park or may be preparing to occupy the Drywall territory. The first prairie falcons were confirmed at Resurrection Wall, Crowley Towers, and Egg Rock by the beginning of 2015. At present the following have been documented: 4 territories with PRFA pairs, 3 more territories with single prairie falcons, and the 3 PEFA territories. These are listed below:

  • Goat Rock / Resurrection Wall: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair
  • General Balconies: PEFA pair
  • Crowley Towers: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Machete / Citadel: PRFA pair
  • Willow Spring Slide: Single PRFA, pair likely
  • Drywall Slide: PEFA pair
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair
  • NE Section 15: PRFA pair

The following territories are currently unoccupied, with no prairie falcons observed within them:

  • Pig Canyon
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks)
  • South Balconies
  • North Balconies
  • Scout Peak
  • '''Western Front
  • Discovery Wall
  • Pipsqueak Pinnacles
  • Frog / Hand
  • Piedras Bonitas / Gargoyle / Prescribed Burn Cliffs
  • Tugboat
  • D. Soto Canyon
  • Guard Rock
  • Rocks West of Chalone Housing
  • Mating Rocks / Tugboat
  • North Wilderness Rock
  • South Wilderness Rock

South Chalone Peak and Marion Canyon have not yet been checked for raptor territorial status.

In general, PRFA activity this season seems to be proceeding normally in regards to annual occupancy and courtship schedules. Some of the unoccupied territories listed above will likely have active falcon pairs that arrive later in the season by February or March. The territorial PEFA pair at Balconies is also occupying the Machete territory, and advisories are in effect to include the upper southwest face of Machete as a partial advisory area for the season.

Please note that climbing and hiking advisories are in effect as of January 20th. Raptor advisory signs have been placed at Hawkins, Scout, Balconies, and Little Pinnacles, to protect these sensitive species from the pressures of off-trail hiking and climbing during the upcoming nesting season. Updated raptor advisory brochures / handouts are available at the east side Pinnacles Visitor Center and the west side Visitor Contact Station. Any assistance park staff can provide in diverting visitors from advisory areas, and reporting incidents of climbers and hikers in advisory areas to law enforcement staff, is highly appreciated!

Golden eagles have also been seen regularly in and near the park over the past month. No occupancy or nesting activity has been confirmed yet.

Other raptors observed in the park in January include American kestrels, and red-shouldered hawks have been seen in the Pinnacles Campground, near the Bacon barn, and in McCabe Canyon, perching in valley oaks and vocalizing, and beginning to add stick material to nest constructs. Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks are active throughout the park along riparian corridors. Owls have been quiet so far this season but will likely pick up as the breeding season proceeds. Great-horned owls have been heard vocalizing in Condor Gulch, Bear Gulch, the Pinnacles Campground, Pig Canyon, near Scout Peak, and near Machete Ridge.

Thank you to all the staff who have continued to provide me with raptor observations; every detail on raptor behavior helps to provide a more complete picture of raptor breeding at the park. If anyone on staff wishes to report raptor observations, I would greatly appreciate it if you please fill out a wildlife observation card, and deposit it in my box in the RRM Office. Also note that Joseph Belli and Aly Schmidt will be part of the raptor monitoring team for 2015 and will be assisting with surveys. If you can't get a hold of me for questions, feel free to ask or pass along observations to them as well.

In addition, thanks to Paul Johnson, Sierra Willoughby, Lori Frusetta, Linda Regan, Dan Ryan, Jennie Jones, Mike Shelley, Brent Johnson, Danielle Powell, Rose Fielding, and Alacia Welch for raptor observations. I appreciate the support!

If you have any observations within the park to report, or any raptor-related questions, please contact me through email or extension 276. Thanks!

Pinnacles Partnership Funds New Accessible Viewing Scopes at the Park (1/27/2015)

Pinnacles Partnership is excited to announce the receipt of a grant from The Fund for People in Parks to fund the purchase of four binocular viewing scopes for Pinnacles National Park. Through a joint collaboration between Pinnacles National Park, Pinnacles Partnership, and The Fund, the scopes are being installed in January and February and will be ready for visitor use by the end of February.

The addition of these scopes provides viewing access from areas near parking lots on the east and west sides of the park. The scopes offer an enhanced view of scenic features of the park, especially for visitors who may have difficulty hiking the trails.

Two scopes are currently being installed on the east side of the park at the Peaks View parking area. In the next few weeks two more scopes will be installed on the west side of the park in the Chaparral parking area. These locations were strategically chosen to provide visitors with accessibility, convenient parking access, views of the iconic Pinnacles rock formations, and possible condor and other wildlife viewing. The scopes are located in areas with restrooms, parking, and trailheads. In addition to convenient locations, one scope on each side of the park is wheelchair accessible.

You can support Pinnacles National Park and projects like this by joining Pinnacles Partnership today! Pinnacles Partnership is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring excellence in education, resource stewardship, and visitor experiences at the park. We are seeking new members, additional board members, and volunteers. Join us or learn more by visiting www.PinnaclesPartnership.org.

The Fund for People in Parks provides private funding and resources to complete inspirational projects that directly benefit visitors in the western National Parks. The Fund continues the early tradition of private philanthropy for National Parks and concern for the visitor that was at the heart of the founding and subsequent growth of the National Park system. By providing private funds and other resources for worthy projects that cannot be accomplished through public funding alone, The Fund develops public/private partnerships that create the critical margin of excellence that enhances the visitor’s experience in Parks.

Upcoming Events

FOP Organized Events

This is where we post the details for upcoming Friends Of Pinnacles sponsored events and activities. Please check back often to see if there is anything new in which you may want to participate.

Park Programs

The Park Service organizes activities and events throughout the year. For details see the Events Calendar for Pinnacles National Monument or call: (831) 389-4485 ext. 0, between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

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