Placer contractor finishes grant work

Last year, Placer County was awarded a $294,000 OHV grant through the CA State Parks OHMVR program. The work funded by that grant was recently completed. Although the funding didn’t cover everything on the to do list, it was a step in the right direction.

Along the paved portion of the trail between the residential area and the staging area, a dozen or so spots of asphalt were cut out repaved. At the same time, the low spots along the edge of the road, particularly the inside turns, were filled in and compacted. This will provide a smoother and safer ride as trailer tires will not drop off the edge of the road.



More importantly, additional low spots along the trail were filled in. The primary scope of this portion was from the TNF/LTBMU border to the intersection of the Rubicon Trail and Forest Road 03-04 (Barker Pass Road).

Here are two pictures from an area right along Miller Lake. In the first two pictures you can see the standing water on the trail. The second photo shows the attempts of those who didn’t want to drive/ride through the water. That illegal bypass as been blocked off.



This picture shows the same route (different angle) filled in to prevent any water from pooling on the trail. This will keep the mountain bikes, motorcycles, quads and side-by-sides on the trail.


Further down the trail, just before the Range Fence, there was a HUGE water hole. The signs on either side cautioned that the bottom was bumpy but not muddy and it was only about a foot and a half deep. Those signs kept most people from driving off trail. The Range Fence stopped the rest.





Sorry that these photos all seem to be from different angles. But you get the point. A lot of dirt was moved on to the trail to build up the low spots. Approximately 1000 cubic yards of dirt was placed at this spot alone. Future work might include armoring some of the still vulnerable areas.

The one spot outside the scope that received a great deal of work was the old Mud Hole west of the Potato Patch. A few years ago, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s lead an FOTR effort to fill and drain the water hole. We moved almost 80 yards of rock to armor and raise the bottom and trenched a drain away from the trail. The final effort lower the water level by several feet.

This spot was still a concern as water would still pool, so Placer drew up specific plans to fill in more of the hole, further armor the bottom of the hole (and drain) and re-establish the drain in to the forest.

So, here is the current view from the west. The old bypass is to the right. In the distance you can see the fill material.


Here is shot from the trail looking down the drain. The rock in the photo is the sediment trap lined by the contractor.


This rock will be used to line the rest of the drain area. Hopefully before winter sets in.


So, if you hadn’t noticed, the fill material came up a little short. The contractor maybe got half way. We think he calculated enough material to line the mud hole then ended up trying to fill the mud hole. This project will have to be revisited next season.


A close up of the area that was filled to the rim.


One of the last pieces to this puzzle was to create several rolling dips and drains along the trail to further prevent water from pooling on the trail. Here are some examples:



Even the outlet of the seasonal pond at the Ellis Creek Trail got lined:


Unfortunately, not all project get done perfectly. This project is no exception. As I said before the mud hole needs more fill material and there were a few seasonal creek crossings that did not get rolling dips. Things that are easily finished next summer.

New page on The ‘Other’ Rubicon

I just changed one of the ‘pages’ of this site.

Gone is the “Articles” page. It’s been replaced with “GPSed“. This page will be a list of “Points of Interest” along the McKinney-Rubicon Springs Road. I’ll try to get the articles placed somewhere else on this site.

At some time in the future, each ‘point’ will be a link to a new page with a detailed description and multiple photographs and possible other links about that site.

This will take some time to compile, so for now, go out and check them out for yourself.

Wind drops trees

This week brought the beginning of fall. The trees are changing colors, the temperatures are dropping and the bikini Jeep tops are being swapped out for a full soft top or hard top. Also, a huge wind storm blew across California and in to the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

I was headed to the Rubicon trail and knew it would be windy, so I made sure I had my chainsaw, saw bag and that it was running well before I left the house. I am sure glad I did.

Around 11am, the wind hit. I was out the Long Lake Trail. The great thing the wind brings is a bug free afternoon. Going up Cadillac was a breeze (sorry, easy pun).

I was well on my way home when I came across a down tree west of Miller Lake. It wasn’t blocking the whole trail but I felt large or at least tall rigs might have an issue with it, so I broke out the saw. It didn’t take much but cleared the snag from over the trail and the debris from the trail itself.


Please remember to always wear proper protection when running a saw: hearing, glasses, gloves, long pants, sturdy closed toe shoes. To take it all the way, you should also wear a helmet and chaps.

Feeling like I’d done something positive for the community, I went on my way. It was getting late and it had been a long day. I left the staging area just before 9am and it was now after three in the afternoon. I had a meeting in Reno at 6pm and it was going to be close.

Then I came across another down tree truly blocking the entire trail.


This one was between water bar 14 and 13. It was much larger than the first one, and blocking a wider section of the trail. Out came the saw again. And I cut it in to many manageable size pieces.


The nice thing about a tree that has fallen across an OHV trail is that the tree is usually rotten or extremely dry making it very easy to cut. I pushed the section of tree to the sides of the trail. It may be necessary to further remove the sections from the trail but there is a sizable path between the sections now.


Always go prepared. If you come across an issue like this and you can’t clear the trail, turn around, don’t go around.


Jeepers Jamboree works Cadillac Hill

Last weekend, Jeepers Jamboree folks organized, staffed and completed a maintenance effort at the Hairpin Turn on Cadillac Hill. Just after the apex of the turn, there is a climb that has a granite slab that slopes down from left to right but on the right side there is a rock that sticks up.

Over the years, the approach to this obstacle has eroded away deepening the channel down the middle of the trail and more so on the right side. The last time I was on the trail, prior to the fix, the right side was under-cut to the point my 35″ tire wouldn’t climb it. I had to back off and throw a few rocks in the hole in order to make it up that section.

Well all has changed. I don’t know how many bags of concrete were used but the channel and the hole were filled in with concrete and rock. Over this winter and after a few dozen rigs, it will get dirty and most travelers won’t even know it’s there. Points to Placer County and the OHV grant for supplying the concrete.

This is one of many spots on Cadillac Hill that is being held together with concrete. There is concrete at V-Rock, the Notch, Morris Rock and many point in between. It is needed to maintain the trail and to keep the trail safe for travelers.

Thank you Jeepers jamboree for a job well done!


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LTBMU, ENF & TNF lift fire restrictions


The last of the trio of Rubicon forests has lifted fire restrictions. The ENF lifted restrictions as of 10-8-14.


Starting 9-30-14, the Tahoe National Forest has lifted fire restrictions for the season.


Starting 10-3-14, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has lifted fire restrictions for the season.


Although I feel this is too early, fires are now allowed with the proper fire permit. Please take the time to make sure the fire is completely out. This means OUT, not just no flames. The fire pit should be cold enough to run your hands through the coals. I usually pour two five gallon buckets of water on the coals and stir as I go.

Several unattended fires have been reported over the past summer along the Rubicon. Luckily, none of them turn in to major wild fires. The only major fire was arson. We did have a few lighting started fires. The one instance I heard of where a camp fire became a wild fire was in Desolation Wilderness, and you know that wasn’t the fault of a wheeler.

Please be safe and help protect our forests.