Laramie, WY – A federal appeals court has upheld a ban on rock climbing at Lake Tahoe's Cave Rock, rejecting arguments by a climbing advocacy group that the ban enacted by the U.S. Forest Service was unconstitutional.
The ruling by a three-judge panel dismissed claims by The Access Fund, a Colorado-based climbers group, challenging the policy adopted by the Forest Service in 2003 as part of an updated management plan.
Cave Rock, a volcanic outcropping on Tahoe's east shore that spans U.S. 50, is considered sacred ground to the Washoe Tribe.
In its lawsuit, Access Fund argued the ban was unconstitutional because it promotes the closing of public lands for religious purposes.
But the Forest Service said the ban was necessary to restore the area's cultural and historical resources to how they were before 1965.
Rock climbing at Cave Rock did not become popular until 1980s, and is renown among expert climbers for the technical skills needed to ascend its overhanging walls.