Due to the weather over the Sierra these past few days, El Dorado County has pushed back plans to use a helicopter to fly in material to be used to maintain the Rubicon Trail. The new closure dates are May 11th through May 15th. That includes the upcoming weekend of the 14th and 15th.
A photo from a previous helicopter delivery to the Rubicon Trail:
From the El Dorado County “Parks” page:
Rubicon update: Due to the upcoming weather on Sunday and Monday the maintenance project has been pushed to May 11th. Unfortunately we will need to close the Rubicon Trail through the weekend. The trail will be closed May 11th -May 15th. We are sorry for the inconvenience, and are working diligently to get this project done before Memorial Day Weekend. Thank you for your cooperation.
Here’s my problem with this change, it was not properly communicated down to the actual users that need to know this information.
El Dorado County has a Rubicon Trail page on their website. At the time of this writing, that page has absolutely no information on the change of the closure dates. In order for the users to find the closure information, users must go to the ‘Parks’ page of El Dorado County, as quoted above.
For the record, it is also not posted on the website of the one Rubicon Trail specific advocacy group, the Rubicon Trail Foundation.
Users should not have to search to learn about the current conditions of the Rubicon Trail. Major changes, such as temporary closures, and even minor pieces of information, should be sent out by the agency closing the trail, not just posted. OHV advocacy groups should latch on to those press releases and forward them to local clubs and post the information on OHV forums, let alone post them on their own website.
Every year, tens of thousands of dollars are donated to OHV advocacy groups. If those groups and agencies fail to inform you of critical information about your local trail, specifically the world-famous Rubicon Trail, are you getting your money’s worth?
The Rubicon Trail will be closed from Monday May 9th through Friday May 13th in order to safely fly helicopters in order to deliver materials needed for trail maintenance. This closure will only affect the El Dorado County portion of the trail. Tahoe side access will still be available to the users.
From El Dorado County…
The Rubicon Trail will be closed from 5/9-5/13/22 due to the work done during the Helicopter Project to improve the trail. Please continue to check the parks website for updates as weather may change the dates for the project. Thank you.
There is currently a severe lack of communication among those groups, agencies and individuals with an interest in the Rubicon Trail.
I provided an extensive list of questions to El Dorado County, after Vickie Sanders offered to put together the meeting. She reached out to all of the groups and agencies involved and asked those questions but did not get responses from everyone she asked.
Below are the actual questions and answers provided by El Dorado County at the Rubicon Trail meeting two weeks ago documenting the answers to those questions, by each group/agency.
The questions are in black, the answers from the respective agency are in blue. Note that RTF and FOTR did not respond. I have learned that RTF has answers to the questions but didn’t get them to El Dorado before the meeting. They did share those answers verbally at the meeting. I have since asked for those answers to be given to El Dorado County to be able to publish all of the answers together. El Dorado has not received anything from RTF. Although FOTR does still exist, we are told, FOTR and El Dorado County are not getting along, not talking, not planning any maintenance efforts together.
Everyone involved in the Rubicon Trail, regardless of their capacity, needs to get over any and all personal differences with others and do what is best for the trail. There are multiple individuals telling me that will no longer communicate with ‘that person’ or ‘that agency’. To me, that is unprofessional and is not in the best interest of the trail.
It might step on a few toes, but I will ask the question: “What would Dennis (Mayer) Do?” We all wore the yellow wrist bands, “WWDD?”, some for years after his passing. Some of us still have a yellow band in our rigs. Dennis kept it calm and down the center, regardless of how he felt personally. We need to channel Dennis and get back to working together.
An eight-page list of things to do was recently provided to those involved with the management of the Rubicon Trail. Someone needs to take the lead and get started on working on those issues. Let’s get FOTR back to where it was when that group literally stopped the trail from getting closed in 2000. RTF needs to work with Placer and/or the Tahoe NF and the Basin to get an adopt-a-trail/rolling dip/campsite going. The TNF needs to involve users in their maintenance decisions and efforts.
Maybe we turn this around to where the users demand to adopt spots along the trail. Maybe OHV clubs need to demand a list of maintenance items for the season. Maybe the users demand that the decision-making process not only be made public, but that every decision includes the public.
Do we need a threat of closure to bring back cooperation and user involvement? If so, it’s closer than you think.
I often poke around the internet trying to find any new information on the Rubicon Trail. I specifically look for information on the Tahoe end of the trail. Surfing the internet is easier than an in person visit since I’m an hour and 20 minutes from the trailhead.
Here’s one of the latest things I found. I found it less than a week ago, so I waited until after the stated closure to post it. It has since been removed from Bing Maps:
“Closed road from Evergreen Way to Rubicon Trail. Start time: 11/3/2021 12:43am; Est. end time: 1/12022 12:00am.”
The red dashed line is the section of McKinney Rubicon Springs Road that is paved between the residential area and the staging area.
The map is from Bing Maps and the closure came up when I searched Bing Maps for ‘road conditions’. Someone had to input this information. I don’t think it’s worth reaching out to Bing Maps this time to ask who did this and why, but if it comes up again, I will definitely reach out to get it corrected.
Now in trying to figure this out, I thought it might have been done to prevent idiots from thinking they can drive to Sacramento on the Rubicon since Highway 80 and Highway 50 were both closed. But they were open when this closure was posted, 11/3/2021.
Recently, dozens of people have tried to drive through Dog Valley on Henness Pass Road to get over the pass even thought is does not get plowed. People in 2-wheel drive vehicles read their onboard GPS units and think they can use it. Local 4wd clubs have staged at the entrance to educate people about the road conditions there and to suggest that they turn around. Others have had to be rescued/recovered because they did drive down the snow covered road.
The Rubicon Trail is open year-round! Let’s all keep an eye on agencies or individuals trying to post that the trail is closed and speak up to get it corrected.
Happy New Year.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management (LTBMU) Unit still has the Rubicon Trail closed until October 20th.
- The Caldor Fire is 98% contained.
- There has been rain and snow over the entire area.
- Temperatures are ranging from the 20’s to the 60’s.
- The Rubicon Trail is open in Eldorado National Forest
- The Rubicon Trail is open in the Tahoe National Forest
- There are no strong winds forecast
Why is the Rubicon still closed?
Where is the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF)?
- RTF’s mission statement: “To Enhance the Future Health and Use of the Rubicon Trail, while Ensuring Responsible Motorized Year-Round Access.”
Why is RTF not ensuring our “year-round access”?
Does anyone fight for the Rubicon anymore? Is this the future of the Rubicon, seasonal closures due to possible fire conditions? If someone doesn’t push back, we will lose our trail during future summers as we’ve lost it this past summer.
FYI, if you go up to check out the trail status first hand, the bathrooms at the staging area are closed.