Cave Rock "proposed action" delayed until 1999
The U.S. Forest Service’s proposed action concerning the future of Cave Rock has been postponed.
While the forest service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit had indicated its proposed action would be ready in August, officials said Monday that it may be January 1999 before the action.
Linda Massey of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit said postponement of the action is because of several reasons, mainly because of current “internal difficulties” the Washoe Tribe currently faces. U.S. Forest Service Supervisor Juan Palma also stated it was not a good time for the tribe to deal with the issue.
Also, Massey said more information still needs to be gathered by the forest service regarding how the wide variety of government agencies involved in the area will be affected by the action.
Cave Rock – an ancient volcanic rock formation on the East Shore – has become an issue of controversy involving rock climbers and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. While the Washoe Tribe sees the area as a powerful spiritual place, rock climbers enjoy the variety of difficult climbing routes it offers.
In 1997, the U.S. Forest Service ordered all rock climbing at the site halted because of Cave Rock’s cultural significance to the Washoe. However, because of the outcry from rock climbers who threatened to file a lawsuit, the forest service lifted the ban. Climbing is permitted, but no new anchors can be set.
A series of workshops were held this year to gain input from both sides.
The proposed action will not be a final decision. It will open another public comment period.
“It’s a way of focusing the discussion in a more targeted way,” Massey said.
After the public comment period, the forest service will issue an environmental impact statement draft, which also will be followed by a public comment period.
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