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80 Maribeth Gustafson, a nineteen-year career Forest Service employee, became supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit in July 2000. She came to Tahoe after serving as the assistant director for fire and aviation management in the Pacific Southwest Region. After graduating from San Diego State in 1980, she had served as a resource officer, a district ranger, and an assistant forest supervisor. Her competence led many to wonder why she had not earned a forest supervisor position earlier. When Gustafson arrived at Lake Tahoe she visited Cave Rock with archaeologist John Maher—the same person who had taken Juan Palma to the site three years earlier to explain some of the intricacies of the issues. He gave Gustafson a similar presentation. Her reaction was quite different. Gustafson began her decision-making process by personally reviewing everything that had been done on the issue: interviewing key participants , studying the deis and the public comments it generated, and watching videotaped recordings of the collaboration meetings. The principals involved in the dispute were not idle during this period. The Access Fund sought letters of support from its members and approached Congress . The Washoes turned to several Indian organizations for assistance, circulated an online petition, and raised the issue at the United Nations. Gustafson was struck by the vehemence of the opposing sides.1 In November 2000 another federal mandate was issued that affected the process. Executive Order 13175 directed government agencies to consult and coordinate with Indian tribal governments when making decisions that affected them. It was intended to strengthen federal government-to-tribal government relations. The order pointed out that tribes had been recognized as domestic dependent nations under federal protection since the formation of the United States. One section in the t e n Record of Decision record of decision   81 new directive stated that regulatory policies must be developed in consultation with tribal governments.2 That same year the section of the Code of Federal Regulations governing the Forest Service was amended to include a section entitled “Interaction with American Indian Tribes.” The rewritten regulations required each agency’s responsible official to “consult, invite, and provide opportunities ” for tribes that might be affected by the planning process. It also required the responsible official to honor the government-to-government relationship.3 Gustafson had already been interacting with the Washoes’ elected officials by listening to their claims and concerns. Following the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Protection Act, she also met with traditional Washoe spiritual and cultural leaders who had relevant information regarding Cave Rock.4 At the same time, the federal government manifested a sudden, dramatic change in its approach to legal actions. The political leadership supportive of Indian causes under President Clinton had been replaced by pro-development advocates in the George W. Bush administration. The Washoes had cause for concern. In 2000, for example, Clinton’s secretary of the interior, Bruce Babbitt, had denied a mining company’s proposal to create a cyanide heap-leach gold mine containing three open pits up to 880 feet deep near Quechan Indian land on the border of Arizona and California. The area included a site of religious ceremonies and held ancient pottery shards and petroglyphs. In November 2001 Babbitt’s successor, Gale Norton, overturned his decision and removed the protection from the sacred site. Norton was no stranger to western land-use controversies. In the early 1980s she had served as a senior attorney for the reactionary Mountain States Legal Foundation. Her chief counsel at the Interior Department had worked previously as a lobbyist for the American Mining Congress. Norton had not consulted with the Quechan tribe before reversing the policy.5 Even as the Cave Rock protagonists maneuvered for an advantage, the Mountain States Legal Foundation and Wyoming Sawmills were instituting their court challenge to Forest Service policy regarding the Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark, charging that protecting the Wheel promoted a particular religion. Gustafson was not influenced by the sweeping changes in the federal perspective, or by the other legal challenges to the Forest Service. In early 82 cave rock   2001 she completed her analysis of the Cave Rock situation and the probable effects of each of the alternatives proposed in the deis and submitted her report to the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Both supported the analysis. The council responded on March 21, 2001, urging her to select the alternative that offered...


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MARC Record
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