LEOs on the Rubicon TrailPosted: January 6, 2014
Last May, I organized a meeting of different law enforcement agencies that have jurisdiction over the Rubicon Trail: Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Tahoe National Forest, CA State Parks and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
What I wanted to avoid was the lack of communication and the inconsistency of enforcement that plagued the El Dorado side of the trail when law enforcement started patrolling there years ago. The goal of the meeting was to do a face to face meeting of the different agencies and officers who would be patrolling the trail. We weren’t trying to solve issues or plan out the 2013 season but just get everyone in the same room.
The Rubicon Trail runs within Placer County and the county recognizes the trail as a public right of way, therefore, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office has jurisdiction on the trail. The Sheriff has put in for and was awarded OHMVR grant money to buy a side-by-side capable of getting anywhere on the Rubicon. The Rubicon will not be the only place the sheriff will use the side-by-side. Any OHV trail within Placer County can be considered the jurisdiction of the Placer County Sheriff.
The Tahoe National Forest has also received OHMVR grant money. They share law enforcement officers with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. The TNF also has an awesome ‘OHV Recreation Specialist’ that is a pleasure to work with. She and the TNF understand that motorized recreation is a legitimate use of our public lands. She also has access to the TNF’s newly built up Jeep Rubicon to patrol OHV trails within the forest. The Jeep currently lives in the Auburn area but can be requested for use in the Truckee/Tahoe area when needed.
The CA State Parks LEOs have been on the Rubicon Trail for years, but only on the El Dorado side. For 2013, things changed. The park service decided that El Dorado sheriffs and the ENF could handle the west end of the trail (This was before the county removed the ability of the FS to cite for county laws.) and so they moved their operation to the Tahoe side. The plan is to store a side-by-side at the nearby Sugar Pine State park and trailer it to the trailhead to use. They also have an officer who drives the state’s Jeep Rubicon, that is quite capable, and he loves to get it out on the trail. They are working to store equipment at Rubicon Springs so they can patrol on the way in, spend a night or two and then patrol on the way out. Again, the state parks LEO can patrol any OHV trail, so they are not limited to the Rubicon.
The meeting went well and all who attended were glad for the opportunity to put faces to the names of those officers in their sister agencies.
For 2014, I look forward to working with the different LEO agencies to maintain the safety of the OHV trails and public lands on the Tahoe side of the world famous Rubicon Trail.