PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — The Forest Service says it is temporarily closing to the public a bald eagle breeding and nesting area along the Verde River to the public beginning on Dec. 1.
The annual closure of the river's Ladders area is aimed at keeping people from disturbing the eagles. It will continue through the end of the nesting season on June 30.
The disturbance of nesting eagles can cause abandonment of eggs and loss of young.
The closure area is a 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) section of the Verde River and adjacent forest lands south of Camp Verde on the Prescott National Forest.
River rafters may pass on the river in the closure area but cannot stop.
Violation of the closure is punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both.
Eagle watchers may be stationed at the closure area to protect nesting eagles and to monitor the eagles’ activities for the .
This breeding area is protected every year through the efforts of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Prescott National Forest.