For years, I’ve reached out to Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery and her staff regarding the piling of snow in front of the Rubicon Trail on the Tahoma side.
At first, Placer County denied they had anything to do with the snow pile and accused local snow removal contractors. After many meetings, photos and emails, Placer admitted their plows were pushing/piling snow from that intersection in front of the Rubicon Trail.
Last year, a fieldtrip was made to the Rubicon entrance with Lindsey, Montgomery’s assistant, and John Briggs to look at the situation first hand.
At that fieldtrip, it was agreed that piling snow well to the left of the Rubicon Trail entrance was a simple, easy, no hassle, no cost solution to the problem. At a subsequent meeting, Montgomery agreed to pass along this solution to those who control the plow drivers.
Just last week, we finally got a decent dumping of snow that I ventured out to see how the plowing issue was going. I was disappointed that it was not going the way we had solved it.
Although it’s not a lot of snow, their is more snow piled between the stop sign on the left and the road signs on the right, than outside that area. Bottom line, Placer still blocking the Rubicon Trail.
So, I fired off a letter to Montgomery’s office…
This past month, I have monitored the snow conditions in Tahoma. Last week I was frustrated to find snow piled in front of the Rubicon Trail, specifically on McKinney-Rubicon Road. This situation is past being a just a nuisance or inconvenience to Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) users.
For more than three years I have tried to use the official system to voice my concerns to the supervisor about past instances of snow being piled at the Rubicon. You and I even did a fieldtrip to the site and agreed there was a simple, no cost, no hassle solution. We agreed that pushing or piling the snow from the intersection to the left of the road would keep the Rubicon clear and not be an inconvenience to the plow drivers.
Somewhere along the lines of communication, the solution we came to was dropped and never reached the drivers of the snow plows. It appears that the snow plow drivers are still intentionally piling the snow specifically on the Rubicon Trail, as the snow piles are centered on the road, not evenly spaced along the snow berm. I do not know where the breakdown occurred but it needs to be discovered and fixed.
Piling snow on a roadway is a criminal act. It needs to stop. The excess snow currently piled on the Rubicon, although minimal, needs to be removed. We have a full week of storms coming in this week. The plow drivers need to be informed that the Rubicon Trail entrance needs to be treated like any other street in that neighborhood or a driveway in that neighborhood. Although the Rubicon does not get plowed, it should not be intentionally blocked. That information needs to be passed along TODAY, not next week, not at the next supervisors meeting, not the next time the supervisor bumps in to the right department head, TODAY.
Attached are photographs of the situation I found on Thursday, January 10, 2019. Although small, it is clear that there is excess snow piled on the road, not to either side of where the Rubicon Trail starts from the residential area. In the wide view shot, you can see the difference in the snow levels. You can see the stop sign further to the left of where the road is and the old signage further to the right. In the other photos, my two snow skis outline where the road lies and off to the sides you can see less of a snow berm.
Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the next coffee day with the Supervisor. I am hoping that John Briggs will be able to attend.
Please keep me informed as to the progress of solving this situation.
Lindsey did get back to me quickly regarding my email. She said she had forwarded my email to Montgomery and the head of Public Works and that they would be discussing it yesterday afternoon. I have yet to hear back from anyone after that meeting.
With the increased ability of off highway vehicles, I will continue to fight for our year ’round access to the Rubicon Trail. It doesn’t help that people got out unequipped for the conditions.
Although winter does not officially start until December 21st, snow has fallen on the west shore and put a white blanket on the trail.
The report I got was a fine sugary type of snow. The group made it to the turn for the Buck Lake Trail. That first climb out of the staging area can be a tough one.
Placer County has agreed to NOT pile snow at the entrance to the trail. If you see snow piled there, not just pushed to the side of the road like the rest of the residential area, please send me a picture and the date you found it.
As always, if you go, please be safe. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Never go alone. Bring proper supplies to spend the night, just in case.
The last few years have seen rigs abandoned on the trail in the middle of winter. One guy was prepared but had a string of bad luck. The other rig should never have been on the trail. Don’t be that guy this winter.
Okay, let’s go through the process first.
The block was brought over the hill from Plymouth by John Briggs last week. The day before it was placed, he dropped the RTF trailer, with the block, in the Tahoma staging area.
Yesterday, two different rigs were used to get it to the intersection of the Rubicon Trail and Forest Road 03-04. (We’re not going to discuss why we had to bring in an alternate rig to finish hauling the block to the intersection.); where it was unceremoniously dumped.
It didn’t land quite like we planned but we got it moved to the right place with a little winch work. We did have rigs blocking the trail for awhile but people understood why.
So, the granite marker is along the Rubicon (the trail on the left), as pictured above but it’s also along Forest Road 03-04, below (the trail on the right).
We had considered placing it down the Rubicon a little bit (and on the left) but it would have been harder to see as you approached the intersection and would have been much more difficult to place. The block still might get moved next summer, depending on feed back.
So, if you read the words on the marker, you know this block was placed by RTF in 2010. Well, not really. This is 2018 and there were no RTF representatives present yesterday. It was actually a Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s effort to place the block. I was actually still on the board of RTF in 2010 and I don’t remember discussions regarding the wording and placement of this marker.
Questions were raised as to why there was no arrow, why the mileage was larger than the “Rubicon Trail”, why was there any mileage info on the block at all, why was the block in Plymouth for eight or more years, why mention Barker Pass Road, where was RTF to help place it, and on and on.
Moving on, it says “Barker Pass Road”. Well, again, not really. Now, back in 2010, I might have been referring to Forest Road 03-04 as Barker Pass Road but it’s really not. Forest Road 03 would be Barker Pass Road as it runs from Lake Tahoe (at the Kaspian Camp Ground) up and over Barker Pass as you travel west. Sort of like Donner Pass Road does through Truckee and then over the pass. Barker Pass is at the intersection of the two Forest Roads 03 and 03-04.
Another issue is the lack of a directional marker on the block. It says Rubicon Trail but it also says Barker Pass Road. But it doesn’t tell the first time traveler which one is which.
We discussed several ways to improve on the message: add an arrow to the top of the block, place a metal plaque (with an arrow) over some of the words, grinding off some of the words, flopping it face down and starting over, etc.
Let me know what you think needs to be done, if anything.
There is concern with the holes drilled in the rock. One goes all the way through and is two inches in diameter. Three others are only 1/2 inch and aren’t too deep. If water gets in those and freezes, the block could split in half. We had a volunteer to come back and fill the whole to prevent that from happening.
So, in the end, thank you to everyone that showed up to help place this boulder, mostly John Briggs who got this whole project in motion, but also to Tony who is taking the picture below. Pictured: Galen, Kade, Doug, John, Mike.
The Eldorado National Forest has released plans for their fall prescribed burning projects.
Although there’s nothing close to the Rubicon, there are fires along the route to the Rubicon.
The link to the Forest Service’s page on the projects is below. The easiest way to figure out where things are happening is to click on the map and zoom in.
For those of you who also own a 2wd vehicle along with you 4wd rig, or for those looking to play in the snow with your trail rig, have I got a deal for you.
I just picked up a pair of tire chains for my daily driver, yes, it’s 4wd, but just in case. The beauty of this pair of chains is that they will also fit the tires on the project Jeep, which oddly enough is 2wd right now. A story for another time. The truck has 265/75R18 and the project jeep is 33×10.5R15. One set fits both sizes.
The guys name is Dave and lives near the south east corner of McCarran in Reno. He owns a Jeep (stock) but he’s in to old Harleys. Retired big rig driver who drove Donner Pass most of his career. Cool dude. He has an ad on Craigslist:
He finds big rig chains on the highway (free material) and resizes them to what you need. Since he doesn’t really have material costs, he only charges for his time. He claims it doesn’t take any more time to build chains for a set of 35″ tires than it does for 31″ tires, so the cost is the same. About $60.
He leaves the cam tighteners in place and for me included a homemade tool to work them. You can see from the pictures the cross links are not worn but there is surface rust. I guess if you wanted to you could clean them up and paint them.
I bet if you wanted a custom set with double the number of cross links and wider to drape down the sidewalls, he could build them.
Anyway, I just thought someone out there might need a deal on chains. I think CA law states you need to carry chains during conditions that might require chains. It doesn’t say they have to fit. But why not be prepared with a set that will fit your oversized tires?
Be safe and don’t be ‘that’ guy.