Okay, after the downer news of the lack of paperwork between agencies in my last post, I’m now happy to report some great news.
The bathrooms at the Tahoma staging area have not yet opened. I put it to all of the agencies and organizations who have anything to do with the Rubicon to come up with a solution. I offered several solutions.
The line from the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) was that they had not yet hired their seasonal staff who normally perform bathroom duties. My counter was that the users except the toilets as the bathrooms on the other side are open and the toilets ON the trail are open, both El Dorado County controlled. If the users can’t use the toilets, they will do their thing in the woods.
On Friday the 12th, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit will contract with an outside company to service and open the two pit toilets at the Tahoma staging area. The contractor will continue to service the toilets every Friday unit such time that the LTBMU seasonal staff is in place to take over the duties.
Thank you to the LTBMU for getting this done!
Hopefully, we can work with the LTBMU in the future to utilize either this contractor or volunteers or a combination of both, in order to open the toilets as soon as users can get to the staging area towing their trail rig.
I know you guys like photos so here are some Rubicon toilet photos:
With all this Covid-19 thing going on and the ‘stay-at-home’ orders, you would think I’d have a lot of time to post about the Rubicon Trail. Well the truth is there isn’t a whole lot going on right now.
Sure there was a rescue of a few people from the Loon Lake area last week. And the snow berm issue has not been settled, but there’s not much snow at the Tahoma Trailhead right now. And anyway, we’re not supposed to be doing any unnecessary travel.
There was going to be a big Rubicon meeting in Reno to talk about everything Tahoe side in March but that got cancelled due to the Corona virus.
Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County has posted a document that has many of the answers that were going to be shared at the Reno Rubicon meeting.
Here is the normal Rubicon page on the El Dorado County website: http://www.edcgov.us/Rubicon/
By clicking on the ‘Click Here’ link under Placer County Trail Update at the top of the page, you will be taken to the newly released document.
Here is a direct link to the document: http://www.edcgov/Government/Parks/Documents/Rubicon%20Update%20Placer%20County%20%281%29.pdf
Maintenance will happen this summer. Helicopters will be flying in rock to Cadillac Hill. Hopefully, volunteers will be able to help.
Stay home, stay safe, work on your rig, get out your camping gear. Summer will come and we will get back out on the Rubicon Trail!
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.