> The Bureau of Land Management Prineville District Office has announced that the public comment period on the Trout Creek Rock Climbing Area Access and Trail Plan Environmental Assessment will be open through Sept. 15.
The Trout Creek Area, located 10 miles north of Madras, is a popular site for recreation activities including camping, boating, fishing and hiking.
The area is home to the Trout Creek Rock Climbing Area, described by climbers as a unique, world-class crack climbing site.
The area is also a territory for a nesting pair of golden eagles and the climbing areas contain golden eagle nests. Monitoring data shows that the nests have failed almost every year since 2002.
One of the leading causes of nest failure is human disturbance. Currently all of the identified climbing routes are within one-quarter mile of at least one nest, and some climbing routes are within 25 feet of a nest.
The Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management is asking for the public's input on how to solve issues related to human disturbances around nesting golden eagles in the Trout Creek Rock Climbing Area.
The BLM has prepared the environmental assessment to analyze the effects of several actions to protect the nests, such as establishing seasonal closures covering different lengths of time and varying "buffer" distances.
Although the BLM has identified a "proposed action," the final decision on this project may actually include parts from any of the alternatives, according to Lisa Clark, spokesperson for the Prineville BLM.
"When commenting, instead of 'voting' for an alternative, please tell us which parts of the alternatives would or would not work to solve the problem, why, and what else we should consider," she said.
"Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment -- including your personal identifying information -- may be made publicly available at any time," Clark noted.
"While you can ask us to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so," she added.