Grand Teton National Park trail reopened, Baxter’s fit to climb
By Mike Koshmrl, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
July 10, 2012
Grand Teton National Park opened a climbing route and a hiking trail after two raptor nests failed.
On Thursday, a tree holding a bald eagle’s nest fell near Two Ocean Lake, letting the park open access to the southern portion of the lake trail.
And the park opened the Baxter’s Pinnacle climbing route in Cascade Canyon after a peregrine falcon nest failed.
The park does not know of anyone who witnessed the loss of the eagle’s nest, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said.
“The entire tree toppled,” Skaggs said. “We had been doing seasonal closures from the nest that fell since about 2005.”
Usually, eagle closures are in effect until August 15 at Two Ocean Lake, Skaggs said. It’s not yet known if the eagles will re-establish a nest in the area, though the same monogamous pair has been active there since well before the blown-over nest was built in 2005.
Park biologists investigated the site and found no evidence suggesting eaglets perished when the tree fell.
“The eaglets appear to have fledged and were likely able to fly,” Skaggs said.
The reopening of the Two Ocean Lake trail came a week after park biologists determined the peregrine falcon nest in Cascade Canyon failed.
The loss is biologically significant because there are only four breeding pairs in Grand Teton.
“We had four peregrine falcon nests in the park,” Skaggs said. “Of the four, three failed. The supposition is that a late snowstorm in early June forced the females, which were incubating their eggs, to leave their nests.”