In an effort to protect bald eagles, the general public is now prohibited from select areas of the Tonto National Forest.
The closures, which began on Dec. 1 and will last through June 30, are intended to leave bald eagles free from disturbances during their reproductive period.
The closed areas include:
• Goldfield on the Mesa Ranger District
• Lower Verde and Cliff on Cave Creek Ranger District
• Seventy-Six, Armer, Bachelor, Pinto, and Tonto on the Tonto Basin Ranger District
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, bald eagles nearly went extinct decades ago and in 2007 were removed from the federal endangered species list after the population saw an increase due to conservation efforts.
The Tonto National Forest has been occasionally limiting access to areas that contain eagle breeding grounds since the species was listed as endangered in 1967.