Last Thursday, 2/20/20, El Dorado County held a Rubicon Oversight Comittee meeting in South Lake Tahoe. Here are my notes…
Rubicon Oversight Committee meeting
February 20, 2020 South Lake Tahoe
Vickie Sanders & Justin Williams El Dorado County Parks & Trails
Nineteen in attendance: eight users (six Hi-Lo’s & two Tahoe Donner 4-Wheelers) the rest were agency representatives
Not being a professional secretary, I’m just going to type out the notes I took:
16 segments within El Dorado County, one available for adoption, Buck Lake area
Holding off on adoptions of the Placer side until the major fixes have been completed
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Many agencies have come together to agree to support management and maintenance of the Rubicon Trail:
El Dorado County Placer County
Eldorado National Forest Tahoe National Forest Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit CA State Parks – OHMVR Division
Vickie Sanders is THE point of contact for all things Rubicon. She will get you in touch with the right person for you question/concern.
Rubicon Trail Foundation
RTF has donated $32,000 for ten hours of helicopter fly time to fly rock in to the trail where it is needed:
Cadillac Hill (gabions to be built on site) Swamp area near Miller Creek Hardening of rolling dips
Grants are to be written as if the trail is under the management of a single agency. This year CA State Parks wanted letters from each agency but in the future the MOU will prevent that need.
Reroute & Cadillac (not the same issue)
Plans are in the works to reroute the Rubicon Trail away from the section where the trail is about to fall off in to Miller Creek. There are old logging roads that will be used for the reroute. Part of the current grant is to do the studies needed to make this happen. This year is planning, next year is approvals, maybe to be completed in 2022.
A historical analysis of the Placer County section of the trail is just one of the studies that will need to be completed before the reroute and before ANY major work on the trail.
El Dorado County’s system is to do “major” work on the trail every other year. This give the county time to plan for future major projects and to catch-up if a “major” project drags out. 2020 is a “major” year as Cadillac Hill will see “major” work.
The Staging Area
The LTBMU received a grant to pave the staging area four years ago. That grant expires in Sept of 2020 and wasn’t enough to cover the cost of paving. With the new MOU, the Basin has reached out to El Dorado to get more money to fully complete the work. This will include expanding the size of the parking area. It also means the taking down of the trees currently within the parking area.
To Do’s: El Dorado & Placer
There is a small to do list on the El Dorado County website. Anyone, any group, can sign up to complete any of those projects.
There have been talks to pave the quad rental parking/staging area. This could lead to a snow removal contract (paid for with OHV funds) to access that parking area all winter long. Just talking right now.
Placer is still working on addressing the snow berm in Tahoma.
El Dorado County is having an F550 built to be the new Poo Pumper. RTF will no longer be contracted to do poo removal. The County has a poo pumping trailer as a back-up.
The Spider Lake repeater has been down off and on for some time. Tim Green has a separate repeater on his property that uses the same frequencies.
Tim Green also runs the “Rubicon Gazette” Facebook page. That page seems to be THE place to go for updates regarding the Rubicon Trail.
Jeepers Jamboree events
Jeepers Jamboree must now permit with the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit as Placer is now not managing the Rubicon. This could lead to possible closures and/or restrictions of the trail within Placer County.
Please contact Joe Chavez is you have any comments, questions or concerns about these possible restrictions.
The TNF is also looking for input about the maintenance level the Rubicon will receive. That could be in the form of what type or level of rig should the trail be maintained. As an FYI, the Fordyce Trail is maintained to a level that a competent driver, in a rig on 35” tires and one locker will face a ‘challenge’ but be passable.
Again, contact Joe is you have an opinion.
I tried to do the best I could but I’m sure I missed something or made an error. Please contact me or Vickie is you have questions or see a mistake.
Rather than re-post the minutes, I’m just going to post a link to the RTF Blog page. Check out the rest of the website while you’re there.
These meetings have been going on for years. More recently, Vickie Sanders, of El Dorado County Parks, has varied the meeting times so more people can attend. She has even moved the meeting locations so those out of the Placerville area can more easily attend.
Hopefully more meetings will be held in the South Lake Tahoe area (she’s already held some there). Tahoe City should be also be considered. This March 28th, there will be a meeting prior to the opening of the Reno Off-Road Motorsports Expo about all things Rubicon at the Reno Convention Center.
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.
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…
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.