We had about fifty people show up for the meeting Saturday morning. Sorry, no pictures.
The majority of the group were the regular players, El Dorado County, Rubicon Trail Foundation, Friends of the Rubicon, CA Off Road Vehicle Assoc., Nevada Four Wheel Drive Assoc., Forest Service and private property owners, but there were, of course, the users.
Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County lead the show. She reviewed the list of questions submitted to the governing groups and agencies prior to the meeting. Most of those groups and agencies were there to expanded and clarified on those answers. I am trying to get an electronic copy of the questions and answers to post up, stay tuned.
Placer County was a no show. They did provide written answers to the questions sent but did not provide a representative at the meeting.
El Dorado County has obtained and spent 35 million dollars of OHV grant funding on the trail to date! Helicopters will fly this summer working from Arnold’s Rock to the Springs. RTF will fund heavy equipment to rework the rolling dips within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. RTF will manage opening the Tahoma staging area bathrooms earlier in the season and keeping them open later in the year.
Tahoe side adoptions are possible but not yet organized: sections of the Rubicon Trail, rolling dips within the LTBMU and campsites along the trail.
Parking at the staging area was discussed and will likely include no parking along the outside edge of the staging area to allow a permanent ‘through route’ for users and more specifically emergency equipment.
The hot topic was the always reappearing Snow Wall. Somehow, an excess of snow is appearing at the Rubicon Trail entrance. Placer County claims they are plowing linerally, only a blade pushing snow to the side. Yet they have and use a rotary blade in the area. Placer is standing by their current practices. Hopefully, a meeting will be scheduled that will include Placer County, OHV users’ groups and the local residents to finally come to a solution to this issue. Many solutions were documented and will be followed up on.
Another longer-term thought would be to make the Rubicon Trail a Sno-Park, similar to Blackwood Canyon, but allowing wheeled vehicles. Plow the road up to a parking lot where OHV users could bring in a trailered rig. Yes, there would be a parking fee associated with the Sno-Park. We anticipate that the local residents would strongly oppose this idea. This was only a thought; no action will be taken at this time.
Better communications were promised both between those involved in management and communications to the users.
El Dorado County, Placer County and CA State Parks LEOs have entered into their own MOU to ensure law enforcement across the entire Rubicon Trail.
The suggestion has been made that a similar meeting needs to take place every year, in order to continue the open communications. These meetings could rotate through different cities: Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Placerville, Auburn and Sacramento. Stay tuned.
Overall, it was a good meeting. We needed to get people in the same room and away from their keyboards. Nothing was solved and Placer was a no show, but we are moving in the right direction.
Hopefully, I’ll have those questions and answers to post soon.
-aka, Rubicon Ronin
Some Hi-Lo’s headed out to the Rubicon Trail, I think on Tuesday the 22nd.
Condition were treacherous. Deep snow and deeper holes in the snow.
Not all was smooth sailing.
The group made it out as far as Bottom Dollar Hole, just above the Potato Patch. That required going past the shelf road along Miller Creek. Here is a great video of the technique used to get past it…
This level of snow wheeling takes a very well-built rig, lots of recovery gear, experience and super driving skills.
Do not travel out over the snow unless you are prepared to spend the night: food, shelter, clothing, water, communications, etc.
The guy next to me didn’t show up so I expanded.
The typical players are there: Sierra Stompers, Hills Angels, Overlanders, etc.
Boat and RV show have started. I think the pet show starts Friday.
The Rubicon meeting is still on for Saturday morning, 9am in room A&7.
It’s this week people. March 23rd through Sunday March 27th, Reno Convention Center!
Many local clubs will be there along with Nevada 4wd Association. It’s also a home show, boat show, RV show and pet show, all in one.
Saturday morning there will be a meeting about the Rubicon Trail. It starts at 9am, in room A7. There is no fee to get into the meeting. Please bring all the questions you’ve ever had about the Rubicon Trail.
I set-up early then changed it a bit after I took this photo.
Stop by and say hi.
On the morning of March 10th, a few four-wheel drive enthusiasts ventured out to the Rubicon Trail in Tahoma for a day of snow wheeling. Upon their arrival at the trailhead, they discovered a snow and ice wall more than eight feet tall. Not having enough people to tackle the job of breaking through the wall, they left. Thursday:
Forty-eight hours later, a larger group of wheelers returned to re-open wheeled access to the Rubicon Trail. Volunteers from four different clubs and three different cities drove to Tahoma to help. We had shovels, pick-axes, digging bars, fresh doughnuts and coffee.
After about an hour and a half of work, we had notched the wall down to something passable by a capable 4×4. The approach is quite steep and the snow, as always, is slick. Our intention was not to make it so easy that any four-wheel drive could get on to the trail. This time of year, travel should only be attempted by a well outfitted rig with an experienced and capable driver. And anyone going out on the trail should be prepared to spend the night with the proper clothing, food and equipment.
More than one local neighbor came over to talk to us while we were working. One said, “you’re ruining it for everyone.” I have to disagree. First off, McKinney Rubicon Springs Road is just that, a road. It is not a private winter park for the local neighborhood. The Rubicon Trail is open year-round for all types of users, including wheeled vehicles. Just because it is not maintained by Placer County during the winter does not mean it is closed.
This individual asked if we couldn’t go somewhere else. To my knowledge, this is the only place in the entire Lake Tahoe Basin where wheeled vehicles are legally allowed to travel over snow. Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere close where we would be allowed. And we have the right to travel on a county road.
Compare that to local areas where individuals can go and cross-country ski, snowshoe, hike, mountain bike, etc. Those places are literally everywhere in the Lake Tahoe Basin; e.g. Blackwood Canyon to the north and Sugar Pine Point State Park to the south. So, we not going to give up our access to the Rubicon Trail.
To address the locals concern over their ability to recreate locally, I would be willing to volunteer my time to help build a non-motorized trail alongside the Rubicon Trail from the residential area to the staging area. This trail could be used for summer and winter travel, reducing the possibility of user conflicts and to provide a better winter experience.
Part of the issue that created the snow and ice wall is how Placer County does snow removal in the area. For almost a decade, local four-wheelers have tried to work with Placer County to address that issue. So far, we have not come to a solution. Another part of the issue is the possibility that someone local is depositing snow illegally at the entrance to the Rubicon Trail. The snow depth at the entrance to the Rubicon Trail is several feet more than that of the rest of the neighborhood. That does not happen naturally.
Many snow stakes were placed at the beginning of this season to better delineate the trail. All but one had been taken down.
After clearing a ramp through the wall, four of the rigs went for a drive up the Rubicon Trail. They didn’t expect to get too far as the report is that the bridge over McKinney Creek still has a large amount of snow piled on it. Driving on a domed pile of snow, over a bridge with no guard rails is not advised.
I want to thank everyone that came out today. Without volunteers, the Rubicon Trail would have been closed decades ago. Our passion for our sport and our willingness to work to preserve it showed today.
Update: I’m told the bridge wasn’t that bad. Stay on the tracks!
After being open for only two hours, the first stuck rig had to be rescued:
For the record, not one from our group!