A popular park trail in Windsor Locks will be closed until the middle of June because state environmental officials are trying "to protect a pair of nesting bald eagles."
Connecticut Department of Energy Environmental Protection officials announced they closed the Canal State Park Trail for at least the next two months.
"Although bald eagle numbers are increasing in the state, the birds are still a state threatened species and need our protection," said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen in a statement Friday.
After a 50-year absence, bald eagles, which are by Connecticut general statutes, returned to the state in 1993.
Canal State Park Trail serves as a way for hikers "to bypass the Enfield rapids in the Connecticut River" and DEEP officials said it is a good feeding and nesting area for the bald eagles.
"Because disturbance can cause the adult eagles to abandon their nest, causing the eggs or chicks to die, it is necessary to close the trail until the chicks can fly," Whalen said.
People will still be able to hike, walk or bike the trail from the northern section for about two miles until they come to a gate where they will be asked to turn around, DEEP officials.
Officials with Ahlstrom said they agreed with the closure of the Canal State Park Trail.
"We are pleased that the eagles have returned to nest alongside the canal, and we are also happy to provide access along this historic pathway so that the community can take in the beautiful views of the Connecticut River," said Jim Fritsche, who is the plant manager of the Ahlstrom in Windsor Locks, in a statement Friday.
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