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Latest News and Upcoming Events

Summer Speaker Series (August) · Park Fee Increase Goes into Effect August 1 · July 2014 Raptor/Closures Update · Speaker Series: Climate and Sustainability · Summer Speaker Series - John Boessenecker

Summer Speaker Series (August) (8/7/2014)

The Pinnacles Summer Speaker Series continues with:


  • Aug 9th, 11:00 AM
    (Pinnacles West Side Visitor Center)
    Paul Johnson, wildlife biologist, will be discussing the varies and fantastic animals of Pinnacles National Park.
    We're a refuge of all kinds of amazing creatures from Coast Horned Lizards to might Mountain Lions.

Call of the Condor

  • Aug 16th, 11:00 AM
    (Pinnacles West Side Visitor Center)
    Condor biologist Arianna Punzalan will explain the life and details of this critically endangered bird as well as the story of the massive conservation effort that is bringing it back from the brink.

For more information call the West Side visitor station @ (831)389-4427.

Park Fee Increase Goes into Effect August 1 (7/26/2014)

On August 1, 2014 the 7 day entrance pass for Pinnacles National Park will increase to $10 for passenger vehicles and motorcycles; bicycle and pedestrian entry will increase to $5.00.

The Pinnacles Annual Pass will also increase on August 1 to $20.00. This is the first fee increase at the park since the 1990s.

Park managers are planning to utilize the fee revenue generated by this increase to provide better customer service in several ways: increased shuttle bus service within the park during busy weekends, improved shuttle bus stops, and improved trip planning information.

Purchase prices for Golden Age and America the Beautiful passes will remain the same. The free Golden Access and America the Beautiful Annual Pass for Active Duty Military personnel will continue to be offered.


The public and other stakeholders were invited to provide feedback on a potential fee increase. The park issued a news release on September 23, 2013, to announce an open comment period from September 23-October 31, extended to November 30, 2013. Interested parties were encouraged to make comments electronically at the National Park Service’s Planning, Environment and Public Comment website or in writing by mail, fax, or hand-delivery. The parks received over 40 comments.

Contact: Superintendent: Karen Beppler-Dorn, 831-389-4486 ext. 233

July 2014 Raptor/Closures Update (7/12/2014)

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

The raptor breeding season is winding down, and falcons have been productive in raising and fledging young from cliff cavity nests throughout the park. Prairie falcons (PRFA) successfully fledged 27 young from 7 nests. A peregrine falcon (PEFA) pair successfully fledged 2 young from a nest in the Balconies area for the first time in 50 years, and a second PEFA nest at Hawkins is still active, with an adult pair raising a single nestling. At present the following have been documented: 12 PRFA pairs, and the 2 PEFA territories. These are listed below with current nesting status:

  • Resurrection Wall: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 2 fledglings
  • Teapot Dome / Tunnel / Egg: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 5 fledglings
  • Hawkins Peak: PEFA pair, nest confirmed
  • General Balconies: PEFA pair, nest confirmed, 2 fledglings
  • South Balconies: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 4 fledglings
  • Crowley Towers: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 5 fledglings
  • Citadel: PRFA pair, non-nesting
  • Little Pinnacles (Yaks): PRFA pair, non-nesting
  • Willow Spring Slide: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 4 fledglings
  • Drywall Slide: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 4 fledglings
  • North Chalone Peak: PRFA pair, nest failed
  • NE Section 15: PRFA pair, nest failed
  • South Chalone Peak: PRFA pair, nest confirmed, 3 fledglings
  • Pig Canyon: PRFA pair, nest failed

In general, PRFA productivity for 2014 was consistent with fledging success observed during the 29 years of the Pinnacles raptor monitoring program, with 27 young fledging from 7 nests and 3 additional nests failing, likely due to nest predation. The confirmed PEFA nests are particularly significant, representing the first time in over 50 years that we have had peregrine falcons nesting and producing fledglings on the West Side. Historic park maps from the 1920s and 1930s showed "falcon sanctuaries" or "peregrine areas" in the Balconies and Machete areas, indicating that park managers were aware of the importance of protecting nesting birds of prey even then. This protection of nesting falcons provided strong justifications for the inclusion of Balconies and Machete in the park property as the Pinnacles boundaries expanded early in the 20th century. It is amazing to see that peregrine falcons have finally returned to nest on the West Side on their own!

Please note that climbing and hiking advisories have just been updated as of July 9th. Raptor advisories are still in effect at Hawkins Peak (including Tuff Dome, H & L Dome, and Frothy Flake) while the late season peregrine falcon nest effort remains active. All other climbing and hiking advisories have been lifted for the year.

Climbers in general have been doing a great job of adhering to the advisories. Hikers have been seen occasionally hiking in advisory areas at Hawkins and Scout Peak but disturbance to falcons has not been documented.

Other nesting raptors observed in the park through July include American kestrels, red-shouldered hawks, a Cooper's hawk pair, a long-eared owl pair, and (just outside of the west side entrance of the park) a golden eagle pair. With the exception of prairie and peregrine falcons, most raptor species have been less productive than in previous years, particularly buteo hawks. In most years we have confirmed 5-8 red-tailed hawk nests and 5-6 red-shouldered hawk nests; in 2014 we have confirmed 2 red-shouldered hawk nests and no red-tailed hawk nests, though adult pairs have remained active in historical territories.

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.

A special thanks to Alyson Schmidt, Autumn Sartain, and Megan Gnekow for their efforts assisting with the raptor monitoring program; they definitely helped to confirm raptor activity and provide a broader picture of raptor nesting this year!

In addition, thanks to James Bouknight, Josh Littlejohn, Brent Johnson, Mike Shelley, Peter Urbach, Rose Fielding, Paul Johnson, Paul Marsell, Denise Louie, Joseph Belli, Linda Regan, Lori Frusetta, Dan Ryan, Jennie Jones, Danielle Powell, 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!

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

Summer Speaker Series: Climate and Sustainability (6/30/2014)

A Stormy Night

Day: July 2nd
Time: 5:30 P.M.
Place: Soledad Library

Join Park Ranger Paul Marsell to explore ancient and modern explanations for stunning thunderstorms and other extreme
weather that has aroused our curiosity through the course of
human history.

A Changing Landscape: How Humans Affect the Central Coast

Day: July 12th
Time: 11:00 A.M.
Place: Pinnacles National Park, West Visitor Contact Station

Monica Galligan will explore the amazing complexity of our interactions with the environment and the way we shape it through all our actions.

Summer Speaker Series - John Boessenecker (6/17/2014)

Release Date: June 17, 2014
Contact: Paul Marsell831-389-4486 ext. 262

Summer Speaker Series Continues

PAICINES, CA -The month of June is "The People of California" for this summer's speaker series at Pinnacles National Park. The final speaker in June John Boessenecker, author of "Bandidio: The Life and Times of Tiburcio Vasquez"

  • When: Sat, June 21
  • Time: 11:00am
  • Where: Pinnacles Visitor Contact Station (West Side)

Bandido: The Life and Times of Tiburcio Vasquez

John Boessenecker, author of Bandido: "The Life and Times of TiburcioVasequez" will shed some light on the myths and legends that surround one of the most infamous bandits in California history.

WARNING! Highway 146 does not pass through the park. You will need to enter the park through the city of Soledad, CA.

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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