PERRY (KSNT) – Eagles nesting at Perry State Park have closed some of its campsites until at least after the Fourth of July, marking the second year the birds have done so in a row.
Workers at Perry State Park confirmed to KSNT 27 News Tuesday that some of the campsites in the Slough Creek area are closed because of bald eagles. Checking available campsites on a government camping website around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday also showed that while dozens of camping spots close to the shore of Perry Lakes were open, none were listed for the Slough Creek Public Use Area. Several camping spots for Locust Loop were also marked as unavailable, including one of the only two handicap-accessible campsites.
A Perry Lake camper posted in a private Facebook group to say that their campsite booked months in advance was canceled. While they didn’t get confirmation that nesting eagles were the reason, they suspected the birds may have returned.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Natural Resources Manager Kyle Broockerd, who is part of the agency which supervises the Locust Loop grounds, confirmed that the agency closed 24 campsites for nesting bald eagles. He did mention there are still other campsites to reserve, and this presents an opportunity for campers to see a bald eagle in the wild.
Broockerd said he is confident the nesting eagles are the same ones that came to Perry Lake in 2021, which also resulted in some campsites being closed. He said it is normal for the birds to return to the same place they nested previously.
Bald eagles were formerly an endangered species, and while they are now delisted, they are still federally protected birds, according to the Endangered Animals Coalition. It is illegal to kill, harm, or harass bald eagles under the Golden Eagle Protection Act. Corps rangers had to establish a 330-foot no-entry zone around the Perry Lake eagles’ nest in 2021 to comply with the act’s guidelines.
While the Army Corps of Engineers said the area near the eagles’ nest could be closed until after the Fourth of July, “they are really on the eagles’ timeline,” which could stretch further. Broockerd did confirm the Corps could also lose some revenue from the closed campsites.
Although bald eagles are no longer endangered, there are still 19 different endangered species in Kansas, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.