Letter — Climbers do cause damage to Cave Rock | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter — Climbers do cause damage to Cave Rock

Your Jan. 3 editorial regarding Cave Rock misstated the issue. While Cave Rock is a spiritual place to the Washoe, and certainly might be to climbers as well, that is not what is in dispute. Cave Rock is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a Traditional Cultural Property. Despite what your staff member claimed, rock climbing has been found to damage the site. The preferred alternative of the Forest Service would protect Cave Rock against further human damage.

The writer was correct that Cave Rock does not belong to the Washoe. Whites took Lake Tahoe from them in the 19th century, and they have no property left here (although they recently secured a 20-year lease to use Meeks Bay Resort). Cave Rock is public land; it is also a property of national historic importance. The question is whether a group of recreational users should be allowed to alter and damage it. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s Forest Plan as well as U.S. Forest Service regulations stipulate that in determining site usage protection of cultural heritage takes precedence over recreational use. In removing the climbers’ paved floor and 300 metal anchors the forest supervisor would not be “tightening the rules,” she would be enforcing them.

Michael J. Makley


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