Again this year, there are climbing restrictions on Mill Creek Canyon northwest of Hamilton in the Bitterroot National Forest. Joni Lubke wrote in a news release that the yearly closure of rock-climbers' popular routes (Starting February 1st) are to protect the nests of raptors on the cliffs. In fact, the birds have increased their area and more routes have been added to the closure area. Maps are available at the trailhead and at the Bitterroot National Forest website. Later this spring, when the young leave the nests, the routes will be re-opened.

Lubke also warned climbers of the "No Bolting" moratorium in Mill Creek Canyon. Due to reported vandalism of previously installed bolts, an exception is being made to replace those bolts for safety reasons. But no expansion of the current bolted routes is allowed. A caution to climbers - check the existing bolts before using to make sure they're secure. The area will be monitored to make sure people are following the "Leave No Trace" and the "Pack it in, Pack it out" principles. The Stevensville Ranger District is (406) 777-5461. Their Facebook page is good, too.

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