Recently, I’ve posted about the possible end of the CA State Parks OHMVR Division and CORVA’s (CA Off Road Vehicle Association) promotion of a bill to keep that OHV funding source in place.
There is now a bill that has been put forth to END this grant funding for OHV.
If you do nothing else this year for OHV, make a call or send an email to your local elected representative to support the continuation of the CA State Parks OHMVR Grant Program and oppose SB 249.
As a citizen of Nevada, not California, it’s a little tricky for me to contact “my” elected CA representative. But I will use the CA address of my family cabin at Tahoe and submit that I recreate (read as bring money to spend) in CA and the continuation of this grant program with promote me to continue to recreate in CA.
This is HUGE people. I don’t often ask for my readers to act. This blog is for your enjoyment and education. I didn’t start this blog to promote myself or any ’cause’. I try not to rant too often. But, I am promoting this cause because if we lose our OHV funds, our trails will close do to lack of maintenance.
The old saying is: “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain.” Well the new quote will be: “If you didn’t speak out to save the CA State Parks OHMVR Grant Program, you can’t complain when your OHV sticker funds go to maintain a State Park that doesn’t allow OHV use and our OHV trails get closed.” Not as catchy but you get my point.
Contact your politician and tell your friends to do the same.
The Eldorado National Forest (ENF) just put out an email about an open house regarding the OHV rant process.
This is a good opportunity for the user to tell the forest service how we want our grant funds spent. Regarding the greater ‘Tahoe side Rubicon area trails’, there is only one trail, the Richardson Lake Trail that runs up to Sourdough Hill. Currently, that trail has maintenance well in hand, been adopted by a motivated user, and should be good for years to come.
ENF does a huge amount of work on the Rubicon itself in cooperation with El Dorado County. There are a few spots along the trail that could use some work (read as fill material) in order to prevent temporary closures due to running/standing water on the trail. These efforts should be emphasized and supported.
The old saying is “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”. This is similar, if you don’t take the time to inform the forest service what you want to see them do for your trails, don’t complain when it doesn’t happen. ‘m sure there is a way to email in any thoughts or comments you have if you can’t make the meeting.
It didn’t copy and paste well but here it is…
So, yesterday (11/9/16) was a busy day.
I had a 30 minute meeting at 10am with the LTBMU to discuss updates to the new map for the staging area. I got out of that 30 minute meeting at 10:50am. Just enough time to make my 11am meeting with the new Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership.
Short story there, this is yet another group formed to ‘restore’ a part of our forest. I’m not yet sure who is funding this effort or why this section of forest was picked. But, Amy Granat of CORVA asked me to be a part of this discussion due to my local OHV knowledge. In order to get an interview with the group, I had to be ‘officially’ affiliated with some recognized group. So, CORVA made me a ‘Field Representative’:
While in the meeting with Lake Tahoe West, the LTBMU texted me to ask if I had time to meet at the Rubicon staging area to discuss ‘things’. Instead of driving over 50 and up 395 to get home, I went back up 89 to the staging area.
On the drive north, I took a few pictures of the recent Emerald Bay Fire. This is just south of Emerald Bay. The first shot is looking south. You can see the open areas near Camp Richardson in the background.
The Forest Service crews were out in strength dropping trees at the edge of the highway, putting down ground cloth and booms to prevent the coming storms from washing off the topsoil and then spraying with that green compound that promotes new growth.
At the staging area, Mike, Jacob and I discussed the sign, the surface of the parking area, signs, overflow parking, etc.
Then Mike said he wanted to see Miller Lake and the turn to the Richardson Trail. Now you must take in to account what I’m driving. It’s my daily driver, a 2012 Chevy Colorado. Now it has the Z-71 package and a 2.5″ lift and 33″ tires. A vehicle quite capable of doing most of the trails in the area, but yesterday, it also had a small load of firewood in the bed and two kayaks strapped to the top.
Up the trail we went. Then Mike asked Jacob if he wanted drive the loop and go out Blackwood Canyon. The Forest Service was driving a stock Ford Ranger, no lift. There were a few puddles that had already lapped at the door of the Ranger. I couldn’t let them drive the loop alone, so with kayaks and firewood in tow, we headed to Barker Pass.
At least I had my winter stuff in the truck: shovel, come-along, tow straps, etc.
Mike was riding with me so I could bend his ear on anything that came to mind. He glanced over and asked if we had enough fuel to make it out. I explained that I normally top off my tank before venturing off-road but I didn’t have that expectation today. I said we’d be fine, but was a little worried when the ‘low fuel’ light came on.
That situation was a great opportunity to discuss the new “No Outlet Nov 6th – June 16th” sign to prevent people from getting stuck at a gate on their way out Blackwood Canyon and not being able to turn around and drive all the way back out to the Rubicon staging area be it fuel, vehicle damage, darkness, injury, etc.
We finished our day at the Middle Fork staging area discussing signage.
I ended up putting 17.4 gallons of fuel in my 19.5 gallon tank. We had plenty, but it was a long day as I didn’t get home until 5:20pm.
Here is the email I recently received from the ENF regarding the Deer Valley Trail:
You are receiving this email to inform you that a Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Deer Valley 4wd Trail Meadow Restoration and Blue Lakes/Meadow Lake Road Maintenance Project has been prepared and is available for your review. See attached cover letter.
The Draft Decision Notice and FONSI, Environmental Assessment (September 2016), and Specialist Reports can be found on the Eldorado National Forest website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/nepa_project_exp.php?project=45439
This proposed decision is subject to objection pursuant to 36 CFR 218. See attached cover letter for more information on the administrative review process. The legal notice announcing the opportunity to object to the proposed decision is anticipated to be published in the Mountain Democrat on September 30, 2016.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.
Matt Brown Botanist
The next step is a 45 day “objection period”. After that, Crabtree has to issue a final decision. Unfortunately, they can and will delay enough to postpone the re-opening of the trail until next season. The season officially ends Jan 1st but will most likely it will be moved up because of wet conditions.
Cover letter to object link:
So, next year, six weeks after the snow melts at the weather monitoring site, the trail will open. Historically, that will be mid-July although it could be as early as late June or as late as mid-August.
I have asked the ENF if we can perform trail maintenance this year on the approaches and departures to both creek crossings. This would allow the work to harden over winter, a common FS practice. The ENF has not replied to my emails.
I just sent a letter to the president and vice president of the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) asking that they keep the users informed of any maintenance efforts by either county PRIOR to any decision being made so the users can comment on these efforts.
Some maintenance efforts are being done that have nothing to do with safety or water quality. It’s all about making the trail easier in certain places so some people don’t put a scrape on their rig.
Rubicon Trail Foundation
September 27, 2016
Sean & John,
I am writing to ask that RTF keep the users of the Rubicon Trail informed of any maintenance efforts prior to the work being approved in order for the users to be able to comment on these efforts.
There are past examples of work done that was neither a safety issue nor a water quality issue. There is one effort planned, but not yet performed, that does not fall within either of those categories.
By creating a new page on your website of proposed, current and completed Rubicon Trail maintenance and which agency is leading it and how the public can comment on those issues, the users would be informed and would have the ability to comment on how our trail is managed.
Rogue maintenance is also an issue. RTF should develop professional relations with all organizations that may have or might perform such maintenance without agency approval and discourage such actions.
Too many decisions are being made behind closed doors or without users’ approval or input. Some of this is on us for not attending meetings but most users work M-F and can’t attend these meetings. So, again I am asking that RTF attend those meeting on our behalf and to keep us informed.
I will be starting a thread on www.Pirate4x4.com to allow Rubicon Trail users comment on this idea. I ask that you join in on the conversation.
I’ve also started a thread on Pirate4x4 to allow the public to weigh in with their thoughts. Please feel free to follow and/or comment on the issue.