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.
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.
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.
As people are just now breaking through and running the entire Rubicon Trail, some of us are still just getting our Jeeps out of hibernation.
At a recent club meeting, talk turned to the RTF trailer. We all loved that it was available for trail maintenance, but we didn’t like, or use the air of hydraulic system. Most of the time we hand pumped the trailer to dump.
I did a write-up on it years ago when it first came to the Tahoe side…
One of my buddies asked about converting it to electric over hydraulic. I wasn’t opposed to it but it wasn’t mine to make the decision. So, I reached out to ERTF to ask if we could convert it. With RTF off the hook for costs, they said go for it.
Thanks go out to Tim with the Hills Angels 4wd Club of Reno Nevada. Tim did all the fab work on the trailer. Between he and the club they covered the construction costs. For now, I’m on the hook for the cost of the parts.
Superior Hydraulics in Sparks, NV really stepped up and worked with Tim to get the hoses and fittings dialed in: www.superiorhydraulic.net/
So here are the guts. The original hydraulic cylinder was swapped out for something that would work with for us. In hind sight, the original cylinder might be able to be converted to use with the new system. Battery, electric hydraulic pump and reservoir.
A battery was added to run the electric pump. It is charged off the 7-pin connector. If you don’t have a charge on the battery, it will still do a dozen or more dumps before running low. The manual handle is no longer usable. I’m going to add a Battery Tender connection to be able to keep it charged while not in use, or just before it goes out for a day of use.
Protection is always important. Tim had some old (new old stock) Toyota skid plates around and they worked great.
Tim even went so far as to weld rings to protect the mounting bolts.
Tim has always been bothered by the noise of these trailers as they go down the trail. So, he added some rubber padding along the frame rails and a rubber bushing to hold down the bed brace rod so it won’t make noise.
We’re working on getting the official list of parts together, so if RTF wants to convert the other trailers, they have a head start. There are things we’d change if other trailers are converted but overall, we’re happy. The cost should be under $400, maybe even down to $300 if we can reuse the original cylinder.
When it’s all said and done, the trailer is faster, easier and safer to use.
It’s almost as fast fully loaded, but I’m having trouble uploading that video.
Rubicon Ronin – 6/18/19
Okay, that probably got your attention.
Well there will be paving, but only the staging area. This is being done to prevent erosion.
The plan is not finalized but it looks like we might lose one or more of the trees in the center of the staging area. The strip between the Rubicon and the staging area will be thinned, hopefully giving us another parking spot or two.
Here’s an overview of the staging area. The three structures in the lower left of the staging area are the two pit toilet and the oil spill depository. The depository will probably move and the NEW kiosk will be placed in that area.
The area below the structures is a seasonal pond. And in case you’re wondering, it would be very difficult and expensive to expand the parking area.
There was talk of putting down stripes in order to bring some order to the way people park in the staging area. But by putting down stripes, the number of parking spots would probably be reduced. I think the final agreement was to not put down stripes this year and see how it goes.
There will be a handicap area painted in front of the pit toilets. And there will be a few no parking areas in front of the NEW kiosk and in other places to maintain flow through the area.
Speaking of flow, there is talk and some agreement about making the first entrance to the staging area (coming from 89) a one-way exit only, again to improve flow through the area and to encourage better parking.
Here’s a set of photos to remind you of the area. Yes, they are old photos but the area hasn’t changed much.
Wow, as I posted those pictures I realized how old they are…2009!
The old Hi-Lo’s sign is gone. The two FS kiosks have been reconstructed in to one. I sold that Cherokee years ago.
And I don’t care what day you visit the trail, you never pull in and find only one vehicle parked there.