Over the last half century, the use of the Rubicon Trail has changed many times. Back in the day, almost everyone would drive the trail from Georgetown (not Loon Lake) to Lake Tahoe, like it was a one-way road. Twenty years ago, the majority of the use would access the Rubicon Trail on the Ellis Creek Intertie/Trail and head to the Little Sluice, wheel, party, shit and go home.
The current use seems to be to trailer your rig to the trailhead, street legal or green sticker, and go access the Rubicon Trail. This is happening at all of the access points. I’m more familiar with the Tahoe end of the trail.
This report focuses on the Tahoma trailhead but the side-by-sides have found Barker Pass and are parking trailers on forest road 03-04, just south of 03. For now, there seems to be plenty of open space to park there.
On July 9th, 2022, I drove to the Tahoma staging area to meet some fellow wheelers to do some trail maintenance. The scene along the paved road into the staging area is pictured below.
For the record, I counted probably 30 rigs and trailers parked along the paved road. Three quarters of those rigs were parked illegally.
The ticket that could be written is resource damage. Although many look like they are parked on dirt, it is not legal to park ninety degrees to the road.
Some of these areas have been used for parking for years. That doesn’t make it legal.
In the photo below, work was being done on the paved road and the contractors moved the large boulders in the picture in order to park their equipment during the process. When they were done, the boulders were not put back in place to prevent illegal parking.
This is the guy who really needs a ticket. The first photo doesn’t really show the issues due to the poor photography on my part.
But the follow-up photo clearly shows this idiot parking his trailer on a bush. That is clearly resource damage.
The following Monday, I sent an email, with these pictures, to the Forest Service and to the Rubicon Trail Foundation. As off this writing, I have received absolutely no response regarding this subject.
7-11-2022Good Monday morning everyone,
This past weekend, I drove through the Tahoma staging area for the Rubicon Trail. The Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s were on our way to do trail maintenance on the Long Lake Trail and Forest Road 03-06.
Attached are several photos of the current parking situation, (taken Saturday July 9th, 2022) not only at the staging area but all along the paved road in to the staging area.
For years now there have been discussions about how to better manage the parking situation for the Rubicon Trail. Several ideas were even agreed upon but I have seen nothing done to prevent the illegal parking that is currently taking place for the Rubicon Trail.
Without doing anything to educate, enforce or engineer a better system, we can only assume it will get worse. And this was not even a holiday weekend. I counted 30 rigs with trailers parked before the staging area and another 20 parked in the staging area.
Safety must be the priority. This area needs to be managed in such a way that an emergency vehicle (police, fire, medic) going in to the staging area can get there even with a tow rig and trailer coming out.
Possible managing ideas that have been discussed, even agreed upon:
-no parking signs along the outer edge of the paved staging area
-no parking along the north side of the paved road
-physically harden both sides of the paved road to protect the forest
Ideas I don’t think have been floated before:
-expand the parking area, near current staging area or elsewhere along paved road
(I assume this is a no starter for the FS.)
-encouraging wheelers to drop trailers somewhere else, if bringing street legal rigs
-educate/encourage parking off Forest Road 03-04, side-x-sides already doing this
(This is at the top of Blackwood Canyon)
-public campaign to discourage trailer use for street legal vehicles
-parking at Homewood, drive to Rubicon via Noonchester Mine Road, $$$$$
(This could drastically change the character of the Noonchester Mine Road.)
-promote the parking of towing trucks ON their trailers while on the trail
This is an issue that needs immediate management. Although it is the responsibility of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, I think the better route to a solution is by getting as many minds as possible together to work out a solution. As soon as possible.
-just a user-
CC: Jacob Quinn, Mike Gabor, Bob Sweeney, John Arenz, Randy Burleson
My fear, if this continues, is that the anti-OHV crowd will use this as a reason to close or restrict use of our OHV trails, specifically, the Rubicon Trail. I would not put it past the Forest Service to cite this illegal activity as a reason to go after legal OHV access and activities.
Don’t get me wrong. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy out OHV trails, green sticker or street legal, but we need to learn to do it in a way that is not going to be held against us.
I will also encourage everyone to step up with ideas to solve the problem this problem before it hurts us. Contact the Forest Service, contact RTF, talk at your next club meeting. Maybe we need volunteers to go out and harden the edges of the paved road if the Forest Service refuses to do anything. FOTR?
As of this writing, the Eldorado National Forest (ENF) has implemented fire restrictions regarding the use of fire, stoves and tools within their forest.
The owners at Rubicon Springs have also implemented a no campfire rule for the rest of the summer.
No word yet from the Tahoe National Forest but I’m sure it’s coming soon.
Please be fire safe any time you’re out enjoying our national forests.