Area Off Limits for Falcons in the Poconos

DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA -- For the next few months, part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is off limits to hikers. Some special visitors were spotted in the area of Milford Cliffs just last week.

A pair of peregrine falcons are nesting in part of the park, and park rangers don't want anybody disturbing them.

"Falcons are very skitterish birds and they also nest on the ledges of the cliffs and so it's really important that we keep people and noise and any extra sound away from them," said Kathleen Sandt, National Park Service.

In Pennsylvania, the peregrine falcon is endangered, and they are protected under the Game and Wildlife Code.

National Park Service officials say these birds haven't been spotted in this area of the park since the 1940s.

"This is really exciting for us. It's actually the second pair that we now have identified in the park, one at the north end and one at the south," said Sandt.

Park rangers want to remind hikers that even though the trails are open, they are urging you to stay on the trails, don't wander off, especially near the closed cliff areas so you don't disturb the falcons.

Signs will be posted to alert hikers where they can and cannot go.

Officials say the closure is expected to last through early August.

"The trails in that area remain open although we might have a few different turns and there will be signs out there. People can still get to their favorite hiking areas but the cliff area will be closed so we can protect them," said Sandt.

Officials say there are penalties and fines for those who don't obey the rules of the closure.

For more information on the nesting falcons, click here.