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69 When the participants were told they could leave at the conclusion of the last collaborative meeting, Cave Rock project manager Lisa O’Daly joked: “No! Lock the door. Make them talk.” She had mentioned in the course of the meeting her hope that participants would come up with “a great solution” that would satisfy both the climbers and the Washoes. Climber Terry Lilienfield presented a more realistic appraisal: “We have tried to offer some gestures of respect . . . but we haven’t found anything that is common ground. . . . It’s not out of disrespect for the Washoe; Cave Rock is a really, really unique climbing resource as well. Climbers feel like we weren’t there first, the Washoe were there long before us, but that doesn’t diminish our love and respect for the area. . . . I wish we could get some sort of Washoe Peoples’ blessing to climb there, but that’s not going to happen.”1 From the beginning of the controversy, some climbers had charged that the property lost its cultural significance when the first tunnel was blown through it. In part because of this allegation the Forest Service requested a formal determination by Carol Shull, the keeper of the National Register. In October 1998 Shull found that not only was its original eligibility as a traditional cultural property valid, Cave Rock also qualified as a historic transportation district and as an archaeological site. The geological study determined that the installations of fixed anchors for climbing affected the property’s physical integrity, and Shull noted that some uses of the rock might be having adverse effects with regard to “setting, feel, and association of the historic districts.”2 On learning of Shull’s appraisal, Paul Minault wrote immediately to Forest Supervisor Palma to state the Access Fund’s case. In a four-page letter he attempted to mitigate the determination’s impact. Minault quoted Shull, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, and the Forest Sere i g h t Adverse EVects 70 cave rock   vice’s own statements that while the rock had been desecrated by tunneling , tourism, and climbing, its importance to the Washoe tribe remained undiminished. In that case, he concluded, continued climbing would neither lessen the spiritual significance of the property to the Washoes nor reduce its historic integrity. He ignored the Washoes’ claim that the climbers’ presence diminished the site’s spiritual significance and the finding that climbing posed an “ongoing, adverse effect.”3 Minault attacked the Washoe tribe’s “backward-looking” tactics, which he described as “demoniz[ing] climbers, inflat[ing] the significance of climbing impacts, and seek[ing] a prohibition on climbing at Cave Rock as a trophy of their resurgent political power.” He urged Palma to take “a less intrusive management approach,” allowing further time for the Washoes and others to build mutually beneficial relationships . Given time, he said, the groups might discover a commonality: “Climbers and the Washoe may find . . . that they share not only a reverence for Cave Rock, but an environmental viewpoint that is forwardlooking and universalistic.”4 Several months earlier Chairman Wallace had expressed offense at what he perceived as the climbers’ attitude toward the Washoes: “The reaction that we have had to deal with and endure from a large part of the rock climbing community as to their presumptive interests or rights to [Cave Rock] is something that bothers a lot of tribal members who obviously have much deeper roots and a historical association to it.” Wallace also disputed climbers’ claims of reverence for the site and their contention that they looked on climbing there as a religious experience. He pointed out that the courts had not upheld the portrayal of rock climbing as having a religious basis or spiritual value. “That [climbing] is part of a larger cosmology, or that there is some metaphysical aspect to it, and being asked to equate that to the Washoe value and the significance of the site [to us] is a large leap of faith. That a recreational activity has taken on the proportions of a religion is something we don’t accept.”5 While one segment of the climbing community was claiming a spiritual or religious component to climbing, another faction was denouncing the Forest Service for becoming entangled in religion. In their view, “involvement of [National Historic Preservation Act] regulations at Cave Rock is just ‘smoke and mirrors’ behind which a religious purpose hides.”6 Feelings continued to run high. Arguments included misinformation adverse effects   71 and were...


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