The Lake Tahoe Basin Maintenance Unit delayed the opening of their OHV trails due to the harsh winter we just experienced. They recently open the trails to public use. As documented in an earlier post, there were issues with the Middle Fork Trail.
On July 25th, five OHV volunteers, under the direction of the North Tahoe Trail Dusters, met at the Middle Fork trailhead at 9:30am in order to clear the trail of downed trees. There was a briefing on what was to take place, safety precautions, who would be responsible for what, communications, Etc. After clearing more than two dozen trees that blocked the trail and many more long the edges, we exited the gate at 3pm.
While we were meeting, a forest service representative showed up and added a combination lock to the lower Middle Folk gate so we could have access.
We worked our way up the trail clearing those trees obviously blocking the trail. The first group would cut them up in to smaller pieces and move on; the second group would throw the debris as far off the trail as easily accomplished. Some areas cleaned up better than others.
Some logs were left longer and were used to block illegally created bypasses. Some of those bypasses appeared to have been created early last fall after those wind storms.
On the way back down the trail, we took the time to clear/clean downed trees off the edges of the trail that didn’t really block the trail but encroached on the trail. There were some trees that were left hanging over the trail but at this time posed no threat to the users. At such time these trees do drop lower, we will remove them as needed.
Another thing we did was to drive 5-6 steel poles in to the ground around the washed out culvert and put up yellow ribbon between them. (That ground is rock hard and I doubt they will stay standing for too long because we couldn’t drive them too deep.) Although the trail is currently closed, we figured someone on a mountain bike or a motorcycle might poach the trail illegally and wanted to mark the hazard to prevent an accident.
We hope the forest service will fast track the rebuilding of the road over the culvert in order to open the trail as soon as possible.
Please be aware that other trails in the area will have similar conditions. Drive/ride under control at all times. “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. If you can’t clear a trail of something blocking it, turn around and go home. If you can remove the debris safely, feel free to do so in order to reopen the trail.
On July 25th, the Tahoe National Forest implemented fire restrictions…
Although there is still snow in the highest points of the sierras, the lower elevations are drying out. Restrictions in the Eldorado should happen soon.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit does not allow dispersed camping anywhere, thus, the only place you can have a camp fire is in a designated campground within a Forest Service provided fire pit. Fires and charcoal BBQs are not allowed on Lake Tahoe’s shoreline.
Please be fire safe.
It’s been a long winter. We all want to get out on our trails. Feel free to do so but travel with caution. Although the trail below looks inviting, look closer at the tree across the trail 100 yards out.
The picture below is why I really stopped here. This is the Middle Fork Trail up Blackwood Canyon. It parallels the paved Forest road 03 to Barker Pass. I’ve actually asked the FS to close the trail until repairs can be done.
My fear is someone not paying attention, more likely at night, might drive off the road,
Back to the pictured tree across the trail. There is evidence that people are going off trail to get around the tree. My motto: “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. If you come across such an obstacle, use your winch or a strap to clear the problem. If you can’t stay on the trail and clear the obstacle, turn around.
On upper Barker Pass Road, there is still a little snow wheeling to be done.
I didn’t take picture of all the downed trees I came across. Most were smaller or not blocking the entire trail. On a motorcycle, it’s much easier to get around a tree in the trail without doing resource damage.
There are plans in the works to get out to all the side trails off the Rubicon to clear the obstacles. We’ll leave the snow for you though.
I just received this email from the forest service:
On June 23rd the snow sensor at Blue Lakes recorded snow water content of less than 1 inch (https://wcc.sc.egov.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=356). As stated in the Final Decision Notice for the Deer Valley 4wd Trail Meadow Restoration and Blue Lakes/Meadow Lake Road Maintenance Project, the Deer Valley 4wd trail (19E01) will be opened for wheeled motorized vehicle use 6 weeks after documented snowmelt. This means that the Forest expects the trail to be open to the public on August 3rd this year.
The Forest is also planning a number of volunteer work days in September to help implement trail work and meadow restoration along the Deer Valley 4wd Trail. Individuals interested in assisting with the repair/restorations should contact Sean McGinness (firstname.lastname@example.org) for additional information.
Matt Brown Botanist
Eldorado National Forest
p: 530-647-5390 email@example.com
4260 Eight Mile Road Camino, CA 95709 www.fs.fed.us
Of course, I worry about lines like this one: “the Forest expects the trail to be open”
What the heck does that mean? Will they find another reason to close the trail? Will someone else step in and file another lawsuit?