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Native Americans wary of Lake Tahoe bike path

Cave rock
Planning for a 30-mile bike path along the Nevada shore of Lake Tahoe is moving into high gear, but may be slowed by concerns over Cave Rock, considered to be a sacred site by the Washoe Tribe.

The Native American tribe doesn't want people traveling around either side of the rock, which has been the target of past lawsuits over rock climbing. Proponents have looked into a route that would take the bikeway down the Old Lincoln Highway route, which roughly detours around Cave Rock on the lake side.

“The tribe is not interested in us using the Old Lincoln Highway,” project manager Karen Mullen told the Carson County Board of Supervisors earlier this week. “They are also not interested in us using the trail system around the other way.”

Project leaders told the board they want to keep the cycling route off U.S. Highway 50 as much as possible for the good of bikers and motorists alike. The path would connect Stateline on the south shore to Crystal Bay in the north.

The highway passes through Cave Rock with a pair of narrow tunnels just north of Zephyr Cove. And some officials don't like the idea of closing a lane in one of the tunnels either.

The Nevada Stateline-to-Stateline Bikeway Project involves local, state and federal agencies, including Carson, Douglas and Washoe counties. But before the project is built, managers must address safety issues, private property concerns and environmental effects, officials said.
The project will be funded from a state ballot measure voters approved in 2002 funding conservation and preservation grants. It included a $5-million bond for the three counties for a bike path. “We want to get people out of cars and onto bikes,” Mullen said.

RELATED: Judge strikes down plans for Lake Tahoe piers

                Invasive mussels plague Lake Tahoe

                Long Beach: the most bike-friendly city in America?

-- Margot Roosevelt, with the Associated Press

Photo: Washoe Tribe members have fought rock climbers over Cave Rock, on Lake Tahoe's eastern shore, considered a sacred site. They are concerned that a bike path may now skirt the rock. Credit: Kevin M. Cannon/For The Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (8)

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Here's the thing, I empathize that bicycling can possibly be a spiritual activity for some people, but that doesn't mean it should overturn Native American spirituality. If you look into why the Washoe tribe wants to keep people away from Cave Rock, maybe you'll find a bit more understanding. Check out and you'll get another perspective. Also, they've already had to go through a similar situation with rock climbers, so of course they're going to be "wary" of a bike trail.

Not only that, but yes, ceremonies are still going on. People don't seem to realize: you're not going to just see a ceremony out of no where if you don't even know what you're looking for, and for a while, Native American people were banned BY THE LAW from practicing many forms of their culture.

Oh, my... the rights of opressed American Indians vs that of low-carbon non-car-driving bicyclists.

What to do, what to do.... there is no right answer..

I totally sympathize with the native American Indians of former centuries who were robed of their lands, nature and dignity.
I do not necessarily sympathize with some modern American Indians who seem to like to mix new laws and Lawyers with old religious traditions to the point of being insensitive and irrational if not plain fanatical.

Exactly Sam...we have stole enough from them. Once they get decent lawyers, human rights violation cases are going help them get what was theres to begin with, for over 12,000 years. Go ride your bike off a cliff and find a clue.

I side with the Native Americans. How much more can we take from them? Mountain Biking as a religious experience? Seriously? There are thousands of biking trails through out the west. Use the ones that are already established.

I find mountain biking to be a religious experience, seriously. Riding in a place like the Nevada is like my church and my spirit soars there. Why isn't my need for riding here not given equal status to native American's calling it a sacred site. Do they still hold any ceremonies there? Bike riders are not being disrespectful by riding through the area, certainly its more respectful than vehicles. I am not willing to let Baptists call the beach sacred, no fair calling Tap, tap, sacred site, no building"

The fact is there are two huge hole through Cave Rock and they have been there for 50 years plus in addition to thousands of cars a day going through them and boats galore at the adjacent boat lanch. I am not an expert in Indian Spirits but they probably left the building long ago and inhabit one of the completely pristine and quiet parts of the Tahoe Basin (if they were ever there). Sorry but now that the Washoe tribe has Lawyers and "project managers" they just need things to do to justify their existence.

The native Americans have always had issues with this kind of thing. The bike patch shouldn't be too much trouble as they would like to think. I think it's a good idea to be encouraging people to use bikes instead of cars.


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