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Nation IN BRIEF : WYOMING : Judge Bars Ban on Devils Tower Climbs

June 11, 1996|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The National Park Service cannot ban climbers from Devils Tower in deference to Indian religious beliefs because that amounts to unconstitutional government support of religion, a federal judge ruled in Casper, Wyo. Devils Tower, a sheer, 1,300-foot column of basalt featured in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," is popular with climbers. But several Indian tribes hold the tower sacred. The park service tried to ban climbing groups led by commercial guides.

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