Cave Rock sign now


Please Help The Washoe And Our Sacred Nation

Sacred landscapes are not sacred because native people believe they are, they are sacred in and of themselves. Cave Rock, or De-ek Wadapush, as it is known among the Washoe tribe of Nevada and California is such a site. Because of its role in the ancient and continuing history of North America, this unique geological formation on the shores of Lake Tahoe is eligible for the National Register for Historic Places. This eligibility, based on the fact that it is a Traditional Cultural Property is where the Washoe are placing their hope. Their hope is to regain the traditional use of this sacred place. For ten thousand years Lake Tahoe has been the heart of the Washoes ancestral homeland and it is the place the tribe came into being. Cave Rock remains a pivotal part of the Washoes spiritual beliefs and human existence and an enduring part of the natural and cultural heritage of Lake Tahoe. They honor this site in such a way that only certain traditional practitioners of Washoe culture are designated to approach and do ceremony at Cave Rock. It is, in every essence of the term, a sacred place.

Because Cave Rock is now included in land owned by the United States Forest Service the Washoe have had to watch as decades of recreational use have altered the land and inhibited their traditional practice. There are 47 different climbing routes crisscrossing Cave Rock leaving it pock marked with pitons, bolts and other devices to facilitate technical rock climbing. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Service, the local arm of the U.S. Forest Service is leaning toward protecting Cave Rock as a Traditional Cultural Property which would bring about a ban on rock climbing. They are to make a decision soon but are currently being pressured by a well-funded segment of the rock climbing community supported by the Access Fund. Some of the corporate sponsors of the Access Fund include REI, Black Diamond, Nike, North Face, Patagonia, W.L. Gore, Clif Bar, EMS, Campmor, Nalgene, and Therm-a-rest.

Please sign our petition asking the Forest Service to stay with their conviction that a ban on rock climbing at Cave Rock is necessary to allow Cave Rock to be preserved as a Traditional Cultural Property. Also it would help to contact the above corporate sponsors of the Access Fund and let them know that a vast majority of people who buy their products do not condone their stance against the Washoe and their tradition of honoring Cave Rock. In the world, this Country, the Lake Tahoe area there are thousands of other places to rock climb. For the Washoe there is only one Cave Rock. Let us change the pattern of history and restore instead of destroy a Native American tradition.

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Nina SampsonBy:
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Petition target:
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

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