Rubicon Trail Collaborative Council (RTCC)Posted: February 15, 2023 Filed under: Access, Maintenance, Travel | Tags: closure, maintenance, management, users Leave a comment
On Monday, February 13th, a public meeting was held at the Cal4 office in Sacramento. There were probably 20 people in the room and just as many on Zoom. The topic was a new way to get more user input regarding the management and maintenance of the Rubicon Trail.
Amy Granat (CORVA & Tread Lightly) and Roger Salazar (OHMVR Commissioner & CORVA/Cal4 life member) presented a new idea for managing the Rubicon Trail: the Rubicon Trail Collaborative Council.
The idea is to build off the example of the Rubicon Oversight Committee (formerly held by El Dorado County). This new group would bring together the users and get the users a seat at the big table along-side of the governing agencies that currently manage the Rubicon Trail.
The establishment of this new group goes along with the establishment of a new Rubicon Trail management process. The idea is to manage the Rubicon Trail as one trail from Wentworth Springs to Lake Tahoe. This could (and should) include the Ellis Creek Intertie. One of the bigger changes is the Forest Service (FS) will be represented by Region-5; that’s the FS headquarters in Vallejo, CA. The individual forests (El Dorado National Forest ENF, Tahoe National Forest TNF & Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit LTBMU) will not each have a seat at the new table.
The new ‘table’ will have El Dorado County, Placer County, US Forest Service, Ca State Parks OHMVR and the new Rubicon Trail Collaborative Council (RTCC).
The current MOUs between ENF, TNF, LTBMU, ElDo Co, Placer Co, CA St Parks and various law enforcement agencies will be amended to include RTCC and to establish a consistency in management and maintenance across the trail.
The make-up of the Rubicon Trail Coordinating Council will include five types of stakeholders: landowners, businesses, state OHV organizations, trail management ‘non-government organizations’ (NGOs) and OHV clubs. Each category will have two seats. It will be up to each category to determine their representatives. (That will be fun.)
The Rubicon Trail Collaborative Council will be housed as a non-profit under the CA Outdoor Recreation Foundation, which will also act as facilitators and representatives for RTCC. Amy & Roger will be those facilitators and representatives for the RTCC board.
If you are wondering if this will ever actually happen, I believe that it will. Amy stated that the larger agencies have already agreed to the idea, verbally, not yet in writing. The hard part is amending the current MOUs to get everyone to agree to the new wording. Again, those large government agencies have already agreed on the idea.
Similar agreements are already in place for other types of recreation and trails. In our world, The Dusy-Ersham Trail has a multi-MOU agreement and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) has a very similar agreement with all of the forests and counties that it crosses. Nothing on the PCT gets done without user input and approval.
This new management agreement will lift the decisions above any one agency, group or individual.
Moving forward, there is a plan to hold an organizational meeting of the RTCC this month. This meeting will probably include the first set of discussions about who will represent each of the five groups within RTCC.
Roger Salazar – https://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=22606#salazar
Amy Granat – https://corva.org/board_of_directors; https://treadlightly.org/meet-the-team/board-of-directors/
California Outdoor Recreation Foundation – https://outdoorrecreationfoundation.org/
If you didn’t catch it, Amy & Roger will be the two user representatives at the new ‘big table’. The RTCC will provide them with guidance to follow as they talk with the ‘agencies’.
This new management arrangement should prevent illegal or unnecessary closures of the Rubicon Trail due to wildfires 20 miles away, because of possible snow fall heading toward the trail or any other arbitrary situation that may arise.
I’m extremely hopeful.
Rubicon Closed – “for safety” (BULLSHIT!)Posted: December 31, 2022 Filed under: Access | Tags: access, closure, snow, weather Leave a comment
“As of December 30, 2022, the Rubicon Trail is closed for public safety in accordance with county procedures and a determination was made with the Department of Transportation, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Parks Division.“
El Dorado County has closed the Rubicon Trail. For the record, that is only an El Dorado County closure. The Rubicon Trail is open within Placer County.
I assume that the closure is due to the storm systems currently hitting the Sierra Nevada. What I’m not sure of is why politicians, specifically in California, seem to think we need mothering. I’m calling the move “bullshit”!
California has a history of wanting to control everything in our lives. Below is just one story about CA wanting to control thermostats:
I get that the government is trying to protect us. So, let’s play that thought out. Let’s have the government protect us from other dangerous sports and activities.
Probably the big one, skiing. Why does the government allow us to ski? 39 deaths per year:
Why does the government allow us to recreate on Lake Tahoe? Six deaths on Lake Tahoe summer 2022:
Why does the government allow us to go to the Grand Canyon? Multiple deaths at the Grand Canyon:
Why does the government allow us to drive through Death Valley? Six deaths in Death Valley:
And for god’s sake, why do we still have hiking trails in this country? 120-150 hiker deaths every year:
Government control (read as closures) is continuing to creep into our lives. We need to tell the government to back off.
Government agencies are increasingly closing our Rubicon Trail and we need to push back. Safety is the new closure reason. They say they know better than we do. The current El Dorado for weather safety. Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has twice closed the trail for fire safety, with the fires 12+ miles away, while the Tahoe National Forest had not even closed the Rubicon Trail.
Our OHV advocacy groups need to push back. They need to push back now. And they need to push back HARD. If we don’t fight to keep our trails open, they will be closed, for one lame reason or another.
I’m calling on RTF to step up and work to their mission statement: “To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.”
I’m calling on Cal4 to fight for our trails. CORVA, Blue Ribbon, AMA, ETC. Anyone and everyone that uses an OHV trail should be fighting this, and every, Rubicon Trail closure. The Rubicon Trail is open year-round. Although I’m not sure I believe that anymore.
How long are these organization willing to wait before they fight? Are you happy with your donations that have gone to these organizations, while you watch them sit on their hands while the trail is closed? Contact your favorite OHV advocacy group and let them know this closure is unacceptable. Let them know it’s time to fight.
It has been brought to my attention that CORVA did indeed challenge the FS fire closures of the Rubicon Trail. Thank you, Amy Granat! I was wrong and stand corrected.
If anyone EVER has corrections to my rantings, please get in touch and I’ll post them up.
“Berm-away” Version 2.0Posted: December 17, 2022 Filed under: Access, Maintenance, Travel | Tags: locals, Placer, plowing, snow Leave a comment
We came, we saw, we took it down.
I’d like to start by thanking those who showed up to help. It was a short notice event and we had people from all over. Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, Fresno Jeep Club (not sure if they drove up today), Tahoe Donner 4-Wheelers, Facebook even brought out a few people. Thank you, Shannon for getting the word out through FOTR and Tim for posting on his Facebook page. If you haven’t visited Tim’s “Rubicon Gazette” page, go check it out.
So, this is what we saw when we showed up. Not everyone (meaning me) showed up on time due to ski traffic around the basin.
The group was already at work when I arrived. With seven rigs and nine people, it went really fast. Most of the snow was normal and undisturbed, the lower layers were a little icy but because we had been here before, the ice chipped out quickly. I think actual work time for the group was an hour and a quarter. But that’s about eight man-hours.
The goal was to dig down far enough to prevent the need for the traditional ramp. We got down to within six inches of the asphalt.
Once done, a few of the guys decided to test the trail. It was very soft snow, almost corn snow. It didn’t compact very well and the guys were literally down to their axles. Straps were deployed but I didn’t get any incriminating photos.
Even with lockers and 40″ tires, there was not much success. After a few tries going back and forth, two Jeeps finally made it in about 150 yards. You can barely see him, about to going around the corner.
There will need to be many freeze/thaw cycles before any true distance will be made up the trail. But our efforts today, and in the future, will keep the opening clear of Placer County plowed snow.
For the record, the locals did let us know that they were not in favor of our efforts. But it’s a county road, not a neighborhood winter play area.
The sheriff never showed up. I’m not sure if the locals called them or not. The close neighbor did come out late in the effort and took a bunch of photos.
A guy in a Subaru did show up and as he was about to drive up the trail, asked “how far is the parking lot?”. He and his buddies were going to snowshoe to the Ludlow Hut along the Sourdough Hill Trail. But his friend showed up and had local parking at one of the cabins.
Moving forward, this issue needs to be solved: better Placer plowing and understanding of the locals. It will take getting everyone in the same room for hours to discuss all of the issues: Placer County, Forest Service, CA State Parks, user groups (RTF, FOTR, CORVA, etc.), local clubs (Hi-Lo’s, TD 4-Wheelers, etc.) and especially the neighborhood locals. We can all sit down and be civil and find a solution. We need someone to lead that effort.
Stay tuned, we’ll be out again.
Why was the Rubicon Trail closed?Posted: October 4, 2022 Filed under: Access, Maintenance | Tags: fire, rock, TNF Leave a comment
My last post outlined the work done by the Lake Tahoe Basin Mangement Unit (LTBMU). On Sunday, I ran the trail down to the Springs.
Along the way, it was clear that the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) had also done extensive work on the Rubicon Trail while it was closed. Large, crushed rock had been placed in many, many low spots along the trail. But not ALL the low spots and not in a few smaller very deep holes.
Note the low spot just past the rock in the picture below, not filled in:
The official word was that the trail was closed due to extreme fire danger. But in one report, individuals working with the ‘landowners’ were allowed on to the trail and down to the Springs. Now we have evidence that workers were doing extensive work over a long period of time. And the trail was closed due to extreme fire danger. I assume all of the workers were wearing Nomex, helmets and carrying fire shelters.
This is much needed work but why close the trail to do it?
If they had reached out to the users for help, we could have provided, trailers, warm bodies and financing to accomplish MORE work in the same amount of time. But they didn’t and we still have issues:
The Forest Service (FS) does not play well with others. This is evidence of that. Why? This work was done without the knowledge of the users, without any input from the users and without assistance of the users.
Now the FS, at least the Basin, in this case does not need to inform anyone when they work on their land. But the Tahoe should be informing the others, that are part of the MOU regarding management of the Rubicon, about work to be done on the trail. Did that happen?
Should the users be involved in this communications chain? Yes. Who should be informed on the part of the users? BRC, Cal4, United 4wd, RTF, CORVA, FOTR, local clubs, certain individuals?
More than ever,
Closure Update: rainPosted: September 21, 2022 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: closure, CORVA, fire Leave a comment
As you all are well aware, a rather large storm has recently passed through the Sierra. The storm brough much needed rain and even snow in the higher elevations. This will help firefighters get better control of the Mosquito Fire. This morning, the containment was reported at 49%! Hopefully, that will mean reduced closures.
Also, CORVA has stepped up and into the arena and has been working to get our lands reopened that were unnecessarily closed. They have been in contact with the Forest Service, trying to explain the other side of the argument.
Several points were made to those in authority:
-the fire is 10 miles away from the Loon spillway and almost 20 miles from Rubicon Springs
-no other areas were closed along-side the Rubicon
(There were literally guards on the access road to the Tahoma staging area!)
-no other activities were shut down besides OHV
-most OHV users along the Rubicon can be contacted by radio to alert them
-OHV has the ability to extract much more quickly than other activities
-the fire is headed to old burn scars and will die down when it reaches them
One of the main points made is that OHV needs to be treated the exact same way as other forms of recreation.
It is our hope that the Forest Service will recognize the errors of their way and back down on the closure orders. Unfortunately, I don’t see the FS working very fast on this. I will post up as soon as I hear anything.
If you don’t know CORVA, it is the California Off-Road Vehicle Association. www.CORVA.org Join today. Join right now. CORVA gets out there and fights the fight. They fight for access to our public lands.