Access Fund Urges Appellate Court to Overturn Climbing Ban at Cave Rock, NV

By Paul Minault, Access Fund N. California Regional Coordinator

On February 15th, attorneys for the Access Fund appeared before a three-judge panel of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to urge the court to overturn the Forest Services ban on climbing access at Cave Rock on Lake Tahoes Nevada shore.

In oral argument, Access Fund attorney Jeremy Kernodle of the Dallas law firm of Haynes and Boone argued, among other things, that climbers were the only recreational group subject to the ban, while hikers, picnickers, boaters and fisherman were free to use the rock and the surrounding area as they wished.

The Forest Service issued a management plan for Cave Rock in 2003 prohibiting climbing on the formation. Following an unsuccessful administrative appeal to the Forest Service, the Access Fund filed suit in federal court in Nevada. In 2005, the District Court upheld the ban on the grounds that, in addition to protecting Washoe spiritual practices, the ban also had secular purposes. The court of appeals will issue its decision sometime later this year.