A climbers' group that filed a lawsuit to keep Cave Rock open for climbing has agreed to support voluntary closure of the area through July and August.
The U.S. Forest Service ordered the area closed last fall in an effort to restore cultural and historical resources of Cave Rock to how they were before 1965. Those resources include the values of the Washoe tribe, which considers the old volcano core a spiritual place.
The Access Fund, which is based in Boulder, Colo., and has about 8,000 members, agreed to support the two-month voluntary ban because of a six-week delay in its lawsuit, said John Maher, a U.S. Forest Service heritage resource manager.
Maher said the Forest Service agreed not to implement its decision to close Cave Rock to climbers in exchange for an agreement from The Access Fund to expedite its lawsuit through a federal court in Sacramento. Closing the rock would involve the removal of embedded bolts.
Maher said the agreement took a hit when the group filed its suit in Nevada. The move caused a six-week delay in the legal process.
No one at The Access Fund could be reached for comment on Friday. The Forest Service says The Access Fund's name will be listed on signs posted to inform the public of the voluntary closure.
"This is a voluntary closure The Access Fund is supporting," Maher said. "The Forest Service isn't implementing anything. But we're in support of anything that lessens the effects up there. We don't consider this to be as much as needs to be done to protect Cave Rock but it goes a little way toward it."
- Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org