Over the winter, I often wondered how to get more people, clubs, groups, businesses or individuals involved in OHV maintenance efforts.

With the release of the latest Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) from the Tahoe National Forest (TNF), three new campsites were officially recognized along with Observation Point (for the first time) and Bear Camp just east of Observation.

I figured, if a trail can be ‘adopted’, why not a campsite? So, starting with these five (actually six) I started looking for volunteers.

Adopting a campsite is no where near as complicated as adopting a trail. Okay, maybe the paperwork is the same but the work load for actually doing the maintenance is much less. We’re talking about checking the site two or three times a year and ensuring that the trash is picked up, the fit pit (if it has one) is free of burnable items for five feet in all directions, the ashes are clean out and disposed of properly and that the size of the ‘campsite’ does not grow.

A few months later, I had three ‘groups’ lined up to adopt a campsite along with myself. That was four down, two to go.

I met with Susanne Jensen of the Tahoe National Forest as soon as she started her six month seasonal duties as the OHV Recreational Specialist on the Truckee District. Susanne was happy to welcome more volunteers to the TNF. She then pointed out there were  a few more campsites along the Forest Road 003-004.

Four down, more like eight to ten to go!

So, this May, I will head out to GPS every campsite in the area of the Rubicon. I will update my map that combines three MVUMs from the TNF, ENF and the LTBMU to include all the campsites available for wheelers exploring the area.

That means the TNF will need a lot more groups to step up and adopt campsites. The sites along Forest Service Road 003-004 are a mile or so from the Rubicon but most have great views and much less traffic driving past them. Many are more hunting camps than wheeling camps but provide a great place to spend the night in the TNF.

So, if you would like to adopt a campsite, along the Rubicon or along Forest Road 003-004 (what I call Barker Pass Road), let me know. I’m currently the liaison between any group adopting a campsite on the TNF near the Rubicon and the TNF.

So far, we have the following groups adopting the listed campsite:

  • Jon & Jan Briggs – the elevated camp west of Miller Lake FS#-3010-026
  • (The camp with the fallen snag is available to be adopted – FS#-3010-024)
  • Tahoe Donner 4wd Club  – the turn out area at Miller Lake FS#-3010-022
  • Doug Barr / – no FS# (the camp on the far west end of Miller Lake)
  • Sierra Stompers – Bear Camp FS#-16E77
  • (Observation Point is still available – FS#-16E78)
  • There are many along Forest Service Road 0003-004 available for adoption

Long Lake Trail opens Saturday

The Tahoe National Forest (TNF) Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) has the Long Lake Trail opening on Saturday the 24th. Last weekend, the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s got permission to run the trail early to make sure it was open and safe for the general public.

We drove down Saturday morning without a major issue. One guy heard a rattle and after borrowing a 1/2″ coarse thread nut from a fellow traveler, we were on our way.The run in was a very casual pace. It was nice not to be rushing to get somewhere for a specific time.

The Long Lake Trail only had one tree down but it was rather large:

Long Lake 2015 Before

The nice part was that it was rotten and cut very easily. It actually broke apart as we tried to winch it out of the trail.

Long Lake 2015 After

We made camp at the campsite along the trail. Other than the two geese that woke everyone up at 6:30am, it was an uneventful stay at the camp. Rain clouds threatened over night. but it never rained.

The drive out was slow and steady. No break downs but some challenging spots going up Cadillac Hill. It seems the rocks continue to “grow” out of the mountain. Future maintenance will be needed to prevent further erosion along Cadillac Hill.

So, the Long Lake Trail is open for business. Please stay on the trail and remember that it ends 0.91 miles in. Also, the campsite is one way in and one way out. Please do not attempt to make it a drive through. Any off trail driving/riding could get the trail closed.

If you come across any issues with the trail or have any questions about the Long Lake Trail, please email me or the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s at


The season begins

Last week I checked out the Rubicon for the first time this season. There was evidence of trees that had fallen across the trail but had been cleared, but no snow to speak of.

That was a little different on the Richardson Lake Trail, 14N39. This trail opened on April 1st. That is earlier than most side trails along the Rubicon. My plan was to drive the trail up to the gate at the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and clear any trees across the trail.

Along the way, I came across a few snow drifts on the trail, mostly on the northern aspect of the hill. Some had tracks of previous travelers but the last few did not. It’s a cool feeling knowing you are the first person of the season to run the trail. As long as I was breaking trail going uphill, I felt I was okay. Although alone, I had a winch, gravity and all my other recovery tools if I didn’t make the climb.

When I crested the climb and came across another snow drift in front of me going downhill. It was time to turn around.


This drift was no larger than any of the others I had already driven through that day but it was downhill. If I got stuck, I’d have to winch against gravity or further down the hill. If I had another vehicle with me, I would have driven it for sure. Maybe next time.

The snow is melting fast. I suspect most of the snow in that picture is now gone.

The Hi-Lo’s drove down to the Long Lake Trail on Saturday to open the trail for next weekend. There was one HUGE tree across the trail but it’s been moved. That trail opens to the public on April 24th. I’ll post a detailed report when I get some pictures from my fellow Hi-Lo’s. Enjoy!

Tree Elves

I ran the Rubicon out to the intersection of forest road 03-04 on Monday. There wasn’t must in the way of snow on the trail but there was plenty of evidence of ‘Tree Elves’ working the night.


Even with the mild winter, several trees had blown over across the trail. These are just a few photos. This is good evidence to support the motto, go prepared. Late winter and early spring travels should dictate bringing a chainsaw and all of the safety gear that your should be wearing.


More than once, over the years, I’ve found myself cutting a log out of the trail on the way OUT! It’s easy to turn around on the way in if you encounter the trail blocked but what do you do on the way out? If you are prepared, you either cut or drag the tree out of the way.

LTBMU grant comments are in

The public has spoken regarding the proposed grant requested by the LTBMU. In short, the public does not support a grant that does not support four wheel drive trails. Specifically, the public does not support mountain bike trail maintenance with OHV funds.

Here is a link to the comments on the LTBMU grant request:

Most of the comments are from South Tahoe locals who either drive Twin Peaks or ride the Sand Pits. These locals not only use our public lands for OHV enjoyment but they also step up and volunteer to maintain these areas. Both the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s and STORM (South Tahoe Off Road Motorcycle club) members took the time to comment. Thank you to everyone that commented.

Hopefully, the LTBMU will read and act on the comments and include 4wd trails and the Sand Pits in a rewrite of the grant proposal.

This is how the process is supposed to work. Let’s hope it continues to work.