Cave Rock ruling deadline missed
The U.S. Forest Service isn’t going to make its end-of-1999 target for a final decision on the future of Cave Rock.
However, a prohibition on the installation of climbing bolts on the East Shore rock formation will be extended through 2000.
“Monitoring by the Forest Service has demonstrated that climbers are fully complying with the terms of the forest order,” said Ed Gee, acting forest supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “Continuing the order into the year 2000 will allow for the completion of the planning effort for the long-term management of Cave Rock.”
The Forest Service’s plan for Cave Rock has long been a contentious issue.
Rock climbers enjoy Cave Rock because it provides difficult climbing routes. The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California says that the volcanic rock is a powerful spiritual place.
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 1997 ordered all rock climbing at the site halted because of its cultural significance. But because of the threat of litigation from rock climbers, the forest service lifted the ban. The prohibition of new bolts has existed since 1997 as the Forest Service has tried to come up with a long-term plan.
Public workshops were held in 1998 to obtain public input from all sides, and a draft proposal was released by the Forest Service earlier this year.
The recommended alternative, one of five proposals outlined in the document, calls for the elimination of about 20 percent of the climbing routes bolted to the rock and a prohibition of any new bolt installation. Maintenance of the existing routes could continue, but additional recreational use of the area – climbing or otherwise – would be discouraged.
Many climbers were happy with the proposal. However, the tribe has indicated it cannot compromise.
Highway tunnels were blasted through Cave Rock decades ago.
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