I’m Confused

As with all of you, I’m trying to get a handle on this Mosquito Fire Rubicon closure situation. So, I try and find all the current information that I can, so I can pass it along to you.

The Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit still have a forest order in place closing the Rubicon Trail. I just checked (9/25/22, 7:45am), it’s still on the LTBMU website.

El Dorado County’s ‘Parks’ page and the subsequent ‘Rubicon’ page still have the Rubicon Trail as closed, but then lists the guidelines for traveling. “The Rubicon Trail is closed and the guidelines traveling are:” A little confusing.

Poking around the website a little more, the El Dorado County’s Sheriff has NOT posted the Rubicon Trail as closed. It lists Ice House Road and Wentworth Springs Road as closed but NOT the Rubicon Trail. A little more confusing.

From the same website, the El Dorado County closure map shows nothing closed or under current evacuation orders. Now, this map does not show roads but shouldn’t it reflect the current FS closures?

Per the Eldorado National Forest, the current closure has the area ahead of the active fire closed.

Our government agencies need to get their act together and become more transparent and to provide accurate information to the general public. The purpose of getting this information out is to educate the general public about where they can safely and legally travel and where they can’t. If the information out there is vague or contradictory, the public is confused.

I’m hoping that tomorrow, through the re-evaluation that has been promised, the Rubicon Trail will once again be open to the public. I’m betting they wait until the end of the day to make an announcement, if they announce anything. It’s more likely that if they reopen the Rubicon, they’ll just remove all orders but not tell anyone the trail has reopened.

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Rubicon Ronin


Forest Service Backs Down on Closures

Here is the link to the NEW forest order:

The Eldorado National Forest has redrawn the closure area for the Mosquito Fire. The Rubicon Trail area is now OPEN within the Eldorado National Forest but the El Dorado County website still has the Rubicon Trail closed. I will be emailing Vickie as soon as I stop typing this line.

Vickie emailed, TNF called (left message), LTBMU called (left message). 9/23/2022 1:30pm

Let’s see how long it takes to get the Rubicon Trail reopened.

Friday 5pm: The word on the street is that the ‘Incident Command Team’ running the Mosquito Fire is not allowing the County to reopen the Rubicon Trail at this time. There will be a reevaluation done on Monday that should get the trail reopened. Please respect the unnecessary closure for a little while longer.

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Rubicon Ronin


Closure Update: rain

As you all are well aware, a rather large storm has recently passed through the Sierra. The storm brough much needed rain and even snow in the higher elevations. This will help firefighters get better control of the Mosquito Fire. This morning, the containment was reported at 49%! Hopefully, that will mean reduced closures.

Also, CORVA has stepped up and into the arena and has been working to get our lands reopened that were unnecessarily closed. They have been in contact with the Forest Service, trying to explain the other side of the argument.

Several points were made to those in authority:

-the fire is 10 miles away from the Loon spillway and almost 20 miles from Rubicon Springs

Remember Tahoe is 11 miles wide and 21 miles long

-no other areas were closed along-side the Rubicon

(There were literally guards on the access road to the Tahoma staging area!)

-no other activities were shut down besides OHV

-most OHV users along the Rubicon can be contacted by radio to alert them

-OHV has the ability to extract much more quickly than other activities

-the fire is headed to old burn scars and will die down when it reaches them

Fire scars

One of the main points made is that OHV needs to be treated the exact same way as other forms of recreation.

It is our hope that the Forest Service will recognize the errors of their way and back down on the closure orders. Unfortunately, I don’t see the FS working very fast on this. I will post up as soon as I hear anything.

If you don’t know CORVA, it is the California Off-Road Vehicle Association. www.CORVA.org Join today. Join right now. CORVA gets out there and fights the fight. They fight for access to our public lands.

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Rubicon Ronin


Rubicon Targeted for Closure!

My previous post outlined a few closures due to the Mosquito Fire. The Eldorado National Forest and the Tahoe National Forest have enacted Forest Orders to close a portion of their forests for safety. The Eldorado oddly carved out the Rubicon Trail for closure even though it was far away from the active fire. The Tahoe National Forest closed a portion of their forest but not the Rubicon Trail.

Today, I learned that the Rubicon Trail has been specifically separated out for closure by both the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

Now the trails up Blackwood Canyon have not been closed. Forest Road 03-04 to the Rubicon, Hobbit and other trails have not been closed. But the Rubicon Trail has been closed. This is not a closure done for safety.

This is not the first time the Rubicon Trail was closed due to a fire a dozen or more miles away.

I’ve reached out to the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) regarding the closure but they only say they are aware and working on it.

This is not an attack by the USFS on OHV. This is an attack on the Rubicon Trail by our local forest leaders. RTF seems unable to prevent or quickly reverse such unnecessary closes. Maybe it’s time we found a new group to fight to keep the Rubicon Trail open.

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Rubicon Ronin


Parking Issues at our trailheads

Over the last half century, the use of the Rubicon Trail has changed many times. Back in the day, almost everyone would drive the trail from Georgetown (not Loon Lake) to Lake Tahoe, like it was a one-way road. Twenty years ago, the majority of the use would access the Rubicon Trail on the Ellis Creek Intertie/Trail and head to the Little Sluice, wheel, party, shit and go home.

The current use seems to be to trailer your rig to the trailhead, street legal or green sticker, and go access the Rubicon Trail. This is happening at all of the access points. I’m more familiar with the Tahoe end of the trail.

This report focuses on the Tahoma trailhead but the side-by-sides have found Barker Pass and are parking trailers on forest road 03-04, just south of 03. For now, there seems to be plenty of open space to park there.

On July 9th, 2022, I drove to the Tahoma staging area to meet some fellow wheelers to do some trail maintenance. The scene along the paved road into the staging area is pictured below.

For the record, I counted probably 30 rigs and trailers parked along the paved road. Three quarters of those rigs were parked illegally.

The ticket that could be written is resource damage. Although many look like they are parked on dirt, it is not legal to park ninety degrees to the road.

Some of these areas have been used for parking for years. That doesn’t make it legal.

In the photo below, work was being done on the paved road and the contractors moved the large boulders in the picture in order to park their equipment during the process. When they were done, the boulders were not put back in place to prevent illegal parking.

This is the guy who really needs a ticket. The first photo doesn’t really show the issues due to the poor photography on my part.

But the follow-up photo clearly shows this idiot parking his trailer on a bush. That is clearly resource damage.

The following Monday, I sent an email, with these pictures, to the Forest Service and to the Rubicon Trail Foundation. As off this writing, I have received absolutely no response regarding this subject.

7-11-2022

Good Monday morning everyone,
 
This past weekend, I drove through the Tahoma staging area for the Rubicon Trail. The Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s were on our way to do trail maintenance on the Long Lake Trail and Forest Road 03-06.
 
Attached are several photos of the current parking situation, (taken Saturday July 9th, 2022) not only at the staging area but all along the paved road in to the staging area.
 
For years now there have been discussions about how to better manage the parking situation for the Rubicon Trail. Several ideas were even agreed upon but I have seen nothing done to prevent the illegal parking that is currently taking place for the Rubicon Trail.
 
Without doing anything to educate, enforce or engineer a better system, we can only assume it will get worse. And this was not even a holiday weekend. I counted 30 rigs with trailers parked before the staging area and another 20 parked in the staging area.
 
Safety must be the priority. This area needs to be managed in such a way that an emergency vehicle (police, fire, medic) going in to the staging area can get there even with a tow rig and trailer coming out.
 
Possible managing ideas that have been discussed, even agreed upon:
-no parking signs along the outer edge of the paved staging area
-no parking along the north side of the paved road
-physically harden both sides of the paved road to protect the forest

 
Ideas I don’t think have been floated before:
-expand the parking area, near current staging area or elsewhere along paved road
(I assume this is a no starter for the FS.)
-encouraging wheelers to drop trailers somewhere else, if bringing street legal rigs
-educate/encourage parking off Forest Road 03-04, side-x-sides already doing this
(This is at the top of Blackwood Canyon)
-public campaign to discourage trailer use for street legal vehicles
-parking at Homewood, drive to Rubicon via Noonchester Mine Road, $$$$$
(This could drastically change the character of the Noonchester Mine Road.)
-promote the parking of towing trucks ON their trailers while on the trail

 
This is an issue that needs immediate management. Although it is the responsibility of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, I think the better route to a solution is by getting as many minds as possible together to work out a solution. As soon as possible.
 
 
Doug Barr
-just a user-
 
 
 
CC: Jacob Quinn, Mike Gabor, Bob Sweeney, John Arenz, Randy Burleson

My fear, if this continues, is that the anti-OHV crowd will use this as a reason to close or restrict use of our OHV trails, specifically, the Rubicon Trail. I would not put it past the Forest Service to cite this illegal activity as a reason to go after legal OHV access and activities.

Don’t get me wrong. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy out OHV trails, green sticker or street legal, but we need to learn to do it in a way that is not going to be held against us.

I will also encourage everyone to step up with ideas to solve the problem this problem before it hurts us. Contact the Forest Service, contact RTF, talk at your next club meeting. Maybe we need volunteers to go out and harden the edges of the paved road if the Forest Service refuses to do anything. FOTR?

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Rubicon Ronin