Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 28, 2008

Trail closed to protect Cave Run bald eagles


Morehead — The Buckskin Run Trail, No. 113, has been closed temporarily to protect a new bald eagle nest discovered near the trail along Cave Run Lake.

U.S. Forest Service officials with the Daniel Boone National Forest recently confirmed two eaglets are in the new nest. The trail will remain closed until July 1, giving the young eagles time to develop and fledge from their nesting site.

“Approximately one acre of land and one acre of water will be restricted to public activity,” said Tom Biebighauser, wildlife biologist on the Cumberland Ranger District. “This pair of eagles shows they are especially sensitive to disturbance from people walking near the nest.”

Signs have been placed at trailhead locations to let visitors know that the Buckskin Run Trail is currently closed. Also, buoys are in place on Cave Run Lake in front of the nest, near Reynolds Hollow.

“This particular nest was found and reported in March by fishing guide Bill Burns,” said Biebighauser. “It is the second bald eagle nest and second pair of breeding adults confirmed on Cave Run Lake. We have had successful eagle reproduction on the lake since 2004. It’s great they are finding the lake to be a suitable place to raise their young.”

Reynolds Hollow is a popular place for houseboats to anchor on Cave Run Lake, and a small beach area occurs in front of the nest on the north shore. To avoid disturbing the eagles, boaters and swimmers are not currently permitted to use this area.

The National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines, prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in May 2007, were reviewed in regards to the management of the new bald eagle territory on Cave Run Lake. The Daniel Boone National Forest is adhering to these guidelines to ensure that bald eagle populations will continue to be sustained on national forest system lands. Using these guidelines, all boating and human entry is restricted within 330 feet of a bald eagle nest tree during the nesting season.

The bald eagle is no longer federally listed as endangered, but the species continues to be protected under federal and state laws. The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, enacted in 1940 and amended several times since, prohibits “taking” or disturbing eagles. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918) was supplemented in 1972 to include the protection of bald eagles and other migratory raptors. In Kentucky, the bald eagle is listed as threatened and protected under state regulations.

The public may contact the Morehead office of the Cumberland Ranger District, Daniel Boone National Forest with any questions regarding the temporary closure of Buckskin Run Trail or the Reynolds Hollow area of Cave Run Lake.