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Access Fund v. Department of Agric.

ELR Citation: 37 ELR 20223
Nos. No. 05-15585, (9th Cir., 08/27/2007)

The Ninth Circuit upheld the U.S. Forest Service's ban on rock climbing on Cave Rock, a large rock formation on the eastern shore of Lake Tahoe, Nevada. While the formation holds religious and cultural significance to a Native American tribe, the ban had a secular purpose and had no impermissible religious motivation. The Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not bar the government from protecting a historically and culturally important site simply because the site's importance derives at least in part from its sacredness to certain groups. Nor was the Forest Service's decision arbitrary or capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act. A lower court decision upholding the ban was therefore affirmed.