Control of the management and maintenance of the Placer County side of the Rubicon Trail is being decided right now. Literally, right now.
Until recently, Placer County has denied any authority over the Rubicon Trail. Lately, they have decided they want or have a hand in it but don’t want the day to day responsibility of applying for grants and to manage the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail.
Placer County and El Dorado County are currently working on an MOU (memorandum of understanding) that will allow El Dorado County the full legal authority to manage the Placer County side of the Rubicon Trail. To be clear, this will give El Dorado County authority over the entire length of the Rubicon Trail. My understanding is that they are very close to making this a done deal.
On the surface, this is a good thing. Placer has failed to apply for and receive steady grant funding and really has been hands off for years. Read as no maintenance has been done on the Placer side for years. El Dorado County has been extremely successful in getting grant money for the Rubicon Trail.
The down side is the lack of transparency. El Dorado County is currently working with Placer County, the Tahoe National Forest (TNF), the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and who knows who else, in order to decide what maintenance gets done and when.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) had been the representative for the users for 15 years. Lately, El Dorado County cuts ties (probably not the best term) with RTF. I’m not sure, but I’m betting that RTF is not in the room when these negotiations are being made. I do not know of any user representative that is in the room.
Worse, projects that had been on the books to take place this summer season have been cancelled. The LTBMU cancelled the installation of a new kiosk at the Tahoma staging area along with cancelling the paving of the staging area. They literally waited until the last moment to inform some of the users. Note, the funding for these two projects ahs been in the LTBMU’s control for years. The RTF had scheduled to bring in a contractor to rebuild the 28 rolling dips within the LTBMU this fall. Again, at the last moment, the project was cancelled. They didn’t tell anyone until I went asking about it.
Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) who normally had worked closely with El Dorado County on trail maintenance projects has been dropped as a close partner and relegated to just another volunteer, ignoring their 20 year history of maintaining the Rubicon Trail.
I have been asking for information on what’s going on, where we’re going and who’s involved in making these decisions. I was told to call Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County. I replied that I didn’t want information for me but for all users. I asked that any and all information be posted for the public to view 24/7. El Dorado County and RTF have pushed back and said if you want information, call us.
El Dorado County is about to control our trail. All I’m asking for is for them to explain how that process is going to work, how they will keep the users and volunteers informed and how they will allow the users in to the decision-making process.
I don’t think I’m asking too much.
It happened. I have stepped in the direction of the dark side, I bought a TJ.
So here’s the current fleet: the TJ, the 1984 CJ-7 and the 1985 project CJ-7.
The TJ is a 2006 Rubicon, 5″ lift (Nth Degree), 35″ tires, aftermarket bumpers, Warn winch (I had to swap over to synthetic line), rear tire carrier.
Not too much to do. I removed some of the towing equipment as it was towed behind a motorhome all of it’s life.
Better rock guards are in it’s future as are ham radio, upgraded stereo, re-painting the bumpers and tightening up the tire carrier. I hate rattles.
So now I have a year-round wheeler. The top will come off next summer. But let me tell you, cruise control and AC are really nice on a long drive to the trailhead.
It is with a heavy heart that I must report that Steve Morris has passed away.
On Saturday, July 27th, Steve Morris was in Rubicon Springs, as a property owner and working with the Jeepers Jamboree, attending his 63rd Jamboree! That morning he had given his short historical lecture to those wise enough to attend. Later that afternoon, Steve collapsed. The people around him could not revive him.
As reported before, Steve helped create the California Association of 4wd Clubs, later renamed the CA 4wd Association. He also started the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s, the Sacramento Jeepers and I think the Joaquin Jeepers.
Thankfully, he had been aware of the honor that the Off-Road Hall of Fame had bestowed on him as one of the Class of 2019 inductees. Steve shies away from such attention. I’m sure his acceptance speech would have mentioned others’ accomplishments and downplayed his role in the four wheel drive world. Steve was a humble man, a gentleman to be sure.
Steve’s dedication over the years to the four wheel drive world will forever be a part of four-wheeling, especially in the northern Sierras, specifically on the Rubicon Trail.
Rest in Peace Steve.
Steve Morris has been elected in to the Offroad Hall of Fame!
The above picture is of Steve at a recent Jeepers Jamboree. Every Saturday morning during Jamboree, he gives a history lecture in Rubicon Springs about the history of the Rubicon Trail .
Steve has been giving back to OHV since the 50’s when he helped found Cal and a local Sacramento 4wd club. In 1966 he helped found the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s.
Steve has been on more than 60 Jamborees. He and his late wife Betty would leave Rubicon Spring late Saturday night and set up camp above the last difficult obstacle going up Cadillac Hill. He would spend all day Sunday winching people or guiding people up that section. What was once known as “The Steps” is now referred to as “Morris Rock”.
I consider it an honor having known Steve. We have had a few memorable times together that I will never forget. Here’s a picture of Steve (and I) measuring the wheelbase of the Cadillac on Cadillac Hill to make sure it’s not a LeSalle:
Looking forward to seeing him honored in Las Vegas on November 3rd.
Yesterday, a group of four Jeeps and seven people headed out to do a little maintenance: Dean, John, Doug, Dean, Gary, Carlos and Don.
Our goal was a general clearing of trees and branches encroaching on the trail, draining some water, removing a large tree from the trail and shoveling down a huge snow berm.
Well, my thanks go out to whoever got out and shoveled the snow. The berm was gone by the time we got there.
We got everything else done and then headed up the Buck Lake Trail to clear more downed trees. Well, again, someone got there before us. So thanks to whoever that was.
So, for the most part, the Rubicon on the Tahoe side is clear of trees and major snow. There is still a lot of water on the trail. Please tread lightly and stay on the trail.
Thanks again to John for putting yesterday together and all of those who were there to help out on very short notice.