Closure dates changed, not communicated

Due to the weather over the Sierra these past few days, El Dorado County has pushed back plans to use a helicopter to fly in material to be used to maintain the Rubicon Trail. The new closure dates are May 11th through May 15th. That includes the upcoming weekend of the 14th and 15th.

A photo from a previous helicopter delivery to the Rubicon Trail:

From the El Dorado County “Parks” page:

https://www.edcgov.us/Government/Parks

Rubicon update: Due to the upcoming weather on Sunday and Monday the maintenance project has been pushed to May 11th.  Unfortunately we will need to close the Rubicon Trail through the weekend. The trail will be closed May 11th -May 15th.  We are sorry for the inconvenience, and are working diligently to get this project done before Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you for your cooperation.

Here’s my problem with this change, it was not properly communicated down to the actual users that need to know this information.

El Dorado County has a Rubicon Trail page on their website. At the time of this writing, that page has absolutely no information on the change of the closure dates. In order for the users to find the closure information, users must go to the ‘Parks’ page of El Dorado County, as quoted above.

https://www.edcgov.us/Rubicon/

For the record, it is also not posted on the website of the one Rubicon Trail specific advocacy group, the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

https://www.rubicontrailfoundation.org

Users should not have to search to learn about the current conditions of the Rubicon Trail. Major changes, such as temporary closures, and even minor pieces of information, should be sent out by the agency closing the trail, not just posted. OHV advocacy groups should latch on to those press releases and forward them to local clubs and post the information on OHV forums, let alone post them on their own website.

Every year, tens of thousands of dollars are donated to OHV advocacy groups. If those groups and agencies fail to inform you of critical information about your local trail, specifically the world-famous Rubicon Trail, are you getting your money’s worth?

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Rubicon Ronin


Still a lot of deep snow!

A small group of dedicated wheelers headed out on the Tahoe side of the Rubicon on the 28th of April. They encountered a lot more deep snow than they expected.

This is probably just before where the Rubicon crosses the Pacific Crest Trail, lots of tall trees shading the trail, preventing the snow from melting.

As in my last post, if you go out, be prepared for anything and everything. Bring food, drink, shelter, extra clothing, extra recovery gear, ham radio, winter boots, etc.

I’m sure the snow will be melting fast but right now, even in the open sun the snow is still deep.

My guess for this location is before Observation? But I’m really not sure. Please note the amount of snow still out there. The vehicle track just above the rear view mirror tells you it’s still deep.

Personally, I’m going to wait a while for more snow to melt. I enjoy snow wheeling but don’t need to make it a multi-day slug fest. I’ll enjoy a snow run when the snow is more just a long drift here and there and the daytime temperatures are warmer.

Please always Tread Lightly! Stay on the trail, “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around.”

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Rubicon Ronin


Winter Travel Conditions

Well, some of us might have been considering an early spring trip to the Rubicon Trail, but after the current storms roll through, some of us are reconsidering that option.

The series of storms going across the Sierra right now will leave several feet of snow. Heavy snow. Great for the water content but not so good for snow wheeling.

Access is easy. The snow wall is gone. This was taken Tuesday the 19th:

The neighborhood showed signs of the recent storm but it was melting fast. As I type, more snow is falling in Tahoma and over the Sierra.

The weather gets better this weekend. I’m sure we’re all tempted to go. If you go, be prepared!

Winter/snow wheeling should be approached with extreme caution. Prepare as if you will have to spend the night: food, water, shelter, clothing, etc.

Vehivle recovery is much more difficult during the winter. Bring extra winch cable, snatch blocks, chains (vehicle & tow), chainsaw for possible trees down across the trail, etc.

There are no tow/recovery services on the Rubicon. The Sheriff might rescue you, but they will not even attempt to recover your rig.

Be safe. Be smart!

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Rubicon Ronin


Closed for Maintenance

The Rubicon Trail will be closed from Monday May 9th through Friday May 13th in order to safely fly helicopters in order to deliver materials needed for trail maintenance. This closure will only affect the El Dorado County portion of the trail. Tahoe side access will still be available to the users.

From El Dorado County…

El Dorado County

The Rubicon Trail will be closed from 5/9-5/13/22 due to the work done during the Helicopter Project to improve the trail. Please continue to check the parks website for updates as weather may change the dates for the project. Thank you.

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Rubicon Ronin


Rubicon Trail Q&As, WWDD?

There is currently a severe lack of communication among those groups, agencies and individuals with an interest in the Rubicon Trail.

I provided an extensive list of questions to El Dorado County, after Vickie Sanders offered to put together the meeting. She reached out to all of the groups and agencies involved and asked those questions but did not get responses from everyone she asked.

Below are the actual questions and answers provided by El Dorado County at the Rubicon Trail meeting two weeks ago documenting the answers to those questions, by each group/agency.

The questions are in black, the answers from the respective agency are in blue. Note that RTF and FOTR did not respond. I have learned that RTF has answers to the questions but didn’t get them to El Dorado before the meeting. They did share those answers verbally at the meeting. I have since asked for those answers to be given to El Dorado County to be able to publish all of the answers together. El Dorado has not received anything from RTF. Although FOTR does still exist, we are told, FOTR and El Dorado County are not getting along, not talking, not planning any maintenance efforts together.

Everyone involved in the Rubicon Trail, regardless of their capacity, needs to get over any and all personal differences with others and do what is best for the trail. There are multiple individuals telling me that will no longer communicate with ‘that person’ or ‘that agency’. To me, that is unprofessional and is not in the best interest of the trail.

It might step on a few toes, but I will ask the question: “What would Dennis (Mayer) Do?” We all wore the yellow wrist bands, “WWDD?”, some for years after his passing. Some of us still have a yellow band in our rigs. Dennis kept it calm and down the center, regardless of how he felt personally. We need to channel Dennis and get back to working together.

An eight-page list of things to do was recently provided to those involved with the management of the Rubicon Trail. Someone needs to take the lead and get started on working on those issues. Let’s get FOTR back to where it was when that group literally stopped the trail from getting closed in 2000. RTF needs to work with Placer and/or the Tahoe NF and the Basin to get an adopt-a-trail/rolling dip/campsite going. The TNF needs to involve users in their maintenance decisions and efforts.

Maybe we turn this around to where the users demand to adopt spots along the trail. Maybe OHV clubs need to demand a list of maintenance items for the season. Maybe the users demand that the decision-making process not only be made public, but that every decision includes the public.

Do we need a threat of closure to bring back cooperation and user involvement? If so, it’s closer than you think.

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Rubicon Ronin