Voyageurs National Park, Minn., is closing up five land and water areas to protect nesting bald eagles, according to ABC Eyewitness News. Included in the areas affected by the closures are the Ek Bay Houseboat Site (K-47) and the Rainy Lake–Skipper Rock Houseboat Site (R-45).
As the local boaters probably know well, these closures have swung into affect every year since 1992 to protect the bald eagles during their critical nesting periods, as recommended by the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Management Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668c, 1940 as amended). Once the young leave the nests (generally by mid-August), these temporarily closed park areas will once again be open for boater use. Park managers are asking all watercraft to give the eagles a 200 meter trespass-free zone both on land and in the water, as marked by signs and buoys, to facilitate their nesting this summer.
One draw of many beautiful houseboating locations is the resident wildlife that families can see in surrounding hills or forests. Animal or birdwatching is something you can do anywhere from lounging on the top deck to floating in the water during a swim to the middle of the forest during a day hike. Protecting the nesting sites of these bald eagles is one way to ensure that nature continues to assert its presence at our favorite boating getaways.