New Trailhead Sign

Some time ago, I emailed RTF and let them know the RTF map displayed at the Tahoma staging area was getting a little faded and reminded them it had been shot earlier. I ask for a new sign to keep the sign board looking professional.

What showed up last Wednesday was not what I expected. The new sign (I can’t call it a map) is a satellite image with the Rubicon Trail displayed in black and multiple ‘points of interest’ marked on the map.


At first glance you might be impressed. Upon a closer look, you realize there are no side trails off the Rubicon anywhere on the Tahoe side. There are no topographical lines. There is no scale to estimate travel distances. Being a new sign, you might expect the recently approved camp sites to be listed, nope.

There are many ‘points of interest’ listed within El Doardo County but only a few within Placer County. Some places not listed: Potato Patch, Mud Hole, Driveway, Notch, Roots, S-Turn, etc.

There are points on the sign that are listed as trails. The first is the Barker Meadow OHV Route. The sign doesn’t snow where it goes only the intersection with the Rubicon Trail. The  point depicting the Long Lake Trail at the base of Cadillac Hill is labeled as the Lost Trail. Again, just a dot no line show the length or direction.

The sign was already installed when another volunteer and I went to the staging area to re-install information on ham radio frequencies, agency contact information, GPS locations and how to get in touch with someone in order to volunteer. That was the first time I had seen the new sign. And I was extremely upset.

For years I’ve been pushing for better recognition of the Tahoe side of the Rubicon Trail. This website is just the latest. One of my bigger complaints awhile back was Friends of the Rubicon declaring that summer ‘The Tahoe Side Year’ and then never offering the volunteers any Tahoe side trail maintenance projects.

The removal of the RTF map, with side trails, togographical lines, scale, etc. and the placement of the new sign is a disservice to users of the staging area.  The information displayed should educate the users to all types of recreation and all OHV routes in the area. The new sign does not do this.

Not being one to hold my tongue, I fired off a letter to ALL those I thought might have been involved with the development of this sign:


Map at Tahoma staging area

September 19, 2014

Involved individuals and agency representatives,

It was recently reported that the map at the Tahoma staging area was faded, shot up and in need of replacement. The wheels of government turned and this week a new sign appeared at the staging area. This new sign is one of the worst OHV trail maps I’ve ever encountered.

Over the years, we have all referred to this staging area as “The Rubicon Trail Staging Area on the Tahoe side” or something to that effect, when in reality it is a USFS OHV Staging Area serving much more than just the Rubicon Trail. This staging area serves street legal four wheel drives, side-by-sides, quads and motorcycles, yes, single track. It also provides a jumping off point for hikers, fishermen and mountain bikers. I’ve even see horses leaving the staging area.

This new sign does not include a single side trail within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) or the Tahoe National Forest (TNF). There are no hiking trails shown. There are no campsites documented. There are no rules posted with this sign. There is no scale for the users to try and gauge how far they might be able to travel in one day.

There are a dozen or more ‘points of interest’ labeled within El Dorado County: Little Sluice, FOTR Bridge, Whale Bone, etc. But there are a scant few on the Placer side of the map. Where are Bottom Dollar Hole, Potato Patch, The Mud Hole (now filled), Helicopter Flat, The Notch, S-turn, Hairpin Turn, Roots Section and The Driveway?

The newly added Long Lake Trail in the TNF is incorrectly labeled as the Lost Trail. It’s just a dot on the map, not the actual trail. The Barker Meadow OHV Trail is another dot, no trail. The Noonchester Mine Road, The Richardson Lake Trail, The Ellis Peak/Lake Trail, The Buck Lake Trail are all not listed.

When I first saw the sign I planned on taking it down. But I soon learned it was mounted to a ¼” thick piece of wood and I had no way to transport it. Later next week, I will remove the new sign and replace the faded, shot-up Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) map that was originally there as the old sign, even in its battered state, is ten times better than the new sign. I will return the new sign to who I believe is the rightful owner, Placer County.
Those included in this email need to fix this issue. A map needs to be produced that include all types of trails as far north as the Middle Fork Trail in Blackwood Canyon. It should include every OHV opportunity the map covers. It needs scale, contact information, GPS locations, and so much more.

I would like to see a round table discussion, with everyone in this email thread, to decide what needs to be included and how to best present it on a map for the users to be able to understand and enjoy their public lands.
Doug Barr


It would be safe to say I pissed off a few folks. So be it. I spoke the truth. The new sign is inferior to the old, faded, shot up, RTF map.

Do to this letter and several other instances of me speaking openly, honestly, with passion and without sugar coating, I have been relived of my duties as the liaison between the Friends of the Rubicon and the Tahoe National Forest. Again, so be it.

I’m betting my golf game will improve.

Although I have a few topics already outlined to write about, I think I’ll take a little break from this website.

But stay tuned.



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