Judge Upholds Cave Rock Ban

A federal judge has rejected an Access Fund lawsuit that sought to overturn a Forest Service ban of climbing at Cave Rock, Nevada. The Forest Service decided to ban climbing at the sport area adjacent to Lake Tahoe in 2003. The Access Fund sued after exhausting administrative appeals, claiming, in part, that the ban was an unconstitutional closure of public property for religious purposes. Cave Rock is considered a sacred site by the Washoe Indians. The Forest Service maintains that the climbing closure is designed to eliminate adverse impacts on the site, although other recreational uses are still allowed. The Access Fund board will meet in late February to discuss a possible appeal of the court ruling. Meanwhile, climbing is still allowed on existing routes at Cave Rock, but a ban on new fixed anchors remains in place. The Forest Service has said it will remove all fixed anchors as soon as the closure becomes permanent.