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BLM unveils new use rules for Birds of Prey area

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Federal land managers are imposing a ban on paintball warfare and rock climbing in and around a raptor sanctuary along the Snake River canyon south of Boise. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced the new rules Monday for the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey area. Agency officials have been crafting the rules for several years in hopes of better protecting raptor habitat and improving public safety in the area. New rules prohibit rock climbing and rappelling in the canyon within the sanctuary boundaries to protect 16 species of raptors that nest along the rock walls, though bouldering is allowed. Paintball guns have also been outlawed inside the area and within a quarter-mile of the boundary. New restrictions have also been implemented for campfires. Offenders could be fined or sentenced to prison.

Click below for the BLM's full announcement.


DATE: May 20, 2013



New Rules Protect Wildlife and Public Safety
in Birds of Prey National Conservation Area


BOISE New rules designed to protect habitats for raptors and enhance public safety are now in effect in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) southwest of Boise. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued final supplementary rules that enable full enforcement of a number of prohibited activities identified in the 2008 resource management plan (RMP) for the NCA. The rules were developed with public input during the RMP process and in comments received on proposed rules, published in July.


The new rules prohibit rock climbing and rappelling in the Snake River Canyon within NCA boundaries to protect 16 species of raptors that nest in or on canyon walls at various times of the year. Unstable basalt also poses a significant safety hazard to anyone climbing on the cliffs. The proposed rules were revised to allow a style of rock climbing known as bouldering, so long as it does not occur on the canyon walls of the Snake River within the NCA. A definition of bouldering was also included in the final supplementary rules.


Use of paintball guns and equipment is prohibited in the Snake River Canyon or within ¼ mile of the canyon rim insideNCA boundaries. In the past, some of the NCA’s significant cultural resources have been damaged by paintball gun use. Prohibiting use of paintball guns will help ensure the maintenance of early cabin architecture, ferry crossings, Oregon Trail segments, and petroglyphs.


Open fires are prohibited outside of BLM-approved fire rings to help avert human-caused wildfires. Additional restrictions on open fires and other burning may be imposed during periods of high fire danger.


Anyone who violates any of these rules may be tried before a United States Magistrate and fined up no more than $1,000 or imprisoned for no more than 12 months or both. Such violations may also be subject to enhanced fines provided for by 18 U.S.C. 3571.


The 2008 RMP for the NCA is available at the BLM Boise District Office, 3948 Development Ave., Boise, ID 83705.


For further information, please contact Jared Fluckiger, outdoor recreation planner for the NCA (208) 384-3342.

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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.



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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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