Cave Rock proposed action out in January |

Cave Rock proposed action out in January

by Andy Bourelle

The U.S. Forest Service expects to release in January its proposed action concerning the future of Cave Rock. However, the ban on the installation of climbing bolts will continue in 1999.

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Wednesday issued a Forest Order continuing the new-bolt prohibition that has been in place since 1997. Rock climbing using existing bolted routes is still allowed.

“I appreciate the rock climbers complying with the order over the past year and a half,” said Juan Palma, forest supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “Continuing the order while we plan the long-term management of Cave Rock will best protect our heritage values of the site.”

Cave Rock – an ancient volcanic rock formation on Lake Tahoe’s 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.

Cave Rock is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. While placing bolts for climbing is generally allowed on National Forest land, the Forest Service in 1996 determined climbing to be adversely affecting the heritage resource of Cave Rock.

In 1997, the U.S. Forest Service ordered all rock climbing at the site halted because of its cultural significance to the Washoe Tribe. But, because of the outcry from rock climbers, the forest service lifted the ban. A series of public workshops was held from January through May of this year to obtain public input from both sides.

“I appreciate the dialogue that resulted when the Forest Service, the climbing community, the Washoe Tribe and others who value Cave Rock came together,” Palma said. “I have carefully considered the information that was shared and plan to release my management proposal for the area early in 1999.”

The proposed action is not a final decision, and it will open another public comment period.

A decision regarding the long-term management of the Cave Rock area is expected by the end of 1999.

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