Control of the Placer Side

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.

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Rubicon Ronin


A move to the dark side…

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.

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Rubicon Ronin


Still snow, and it will be there for some time…

Third day in a row on the Rubicon. This time as a passenger.

So, picking up where I left off yesterday, here is the off-camber section just past the turn to Ellis Peak.

Dean went ahead a drove this as it was. For the other three rigs, I dug a trench for the high side tires. It lessens the side hill and provides a track to prevent sliding off the snow in to the mud.

Of course John did it with his tire carrier swinging. The next obstacle stopped everyone. All four rigs took a winch.

Once out of the Basin and in to the Tahoe, there was snow everywhere in various forms…

But we did make it all the way to Observation Point! It was windy, and I mean WINDY!

Of course, on the way out we came across a downed tree. As in down across the trail. It wasn’t there on the way in.

I had a hand saw but John had a chain saw.

And off we went…

Please go prepared. Turn Around, Don’t Go Around. Don’t drive off trail if you or your rig can’t handle the obstacle.

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Rubicon Ronin


Snow, snow, snow

Okay, I got out on the Rubicon yesterday (6.25.19) as opposed to the Buck Lake Trail the day before that had tree issues.

We got as far as the pond at the Ellis Peak Trail and turned around at the intersection.

Below is the view looking further down the Rubicon. Snow! Lots of side hill action. That’s why we turned around.

This is the view up the Ellis Peak Trail. Nobody’s been there yet.

After the turn around, we poked up the Richardson Lake trail thinking we’d go to the top for the view from Sourdough. Nope! Again, crazy side hill right before the cabin. The pond on the right is a somewhat deep sediment trap.

If you go, be prepared to dig and saw. Snow everywhere, trees still across the trail.

Stay on the trail. If you are not prepared to deal with what is on the trail, Turn Around, Don’t Go Around!

Rubicon Ronin


Spring Conditions out there!

Just did a quick run up the Buck Lake Trail. It’s the first right turn out of the staging area.

It still needs a lot of trimming…

Some of the trees were soft enough to drive through…

Others, not so much…

Now, I did have a saw with me but a hand saw for getting out, not a chain saw for clearing trails.

Bottom line, be prepared for late winter or early spring conditions. Bring a saw and shovel. There is still a lot of snow on the trail. I’ve heard of five foot drops.

Headed out today to get a better idea of what’s going on further up the Rubicon.

Turn Around, Don’t Go Around.

Rubicon Ronin