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.
Yes, the orange blooms are already happening.
Road construction has started in the Lake Tahoe Basin. This is important enough that I may start a direct link to updated information on current construction project that could affect driving to and/or from the world Famous Rubicon Trail.
The website of the week: http://www.tahoeroads.com/
This website has all kinds of information on road construction around Tahoe. The easiest page to understand has pictures. So, rather than me ramble on with too many words, here are two pictures pages that says it all. The link is for the web page of the two images below.
The Sierra Sun is also reporting:
- Paving treatment on Highway 267, airport to the summit, May-Oct, 20 minute delays
- Paving treatment on 28, between Tahoe City and 267. Aug-Oct, 10 minute delays
- Bridge replacement on the road to Alpine Meadows at 89, May-Oct
- Highway 80 at the Donner Lake Interchange, May-July
- Highway 80 Boca to Floriston, May-Oct, 20 minute delays
Please check conditions before you travel. Add time to your trip as needed. Watch out for the workers.
As was the subject of the last “Photo of the month”, the sign at the McKinney-Rubicon Springs Road has been in the need of attention for some time.
Recently, some new material was installed along with a new piece of backing plywood and a new plexi-glass cover. Additionally, the broken map box was replaced and stocked with both the RTF Rubicon Trail map and the new Rubicon Area OHV Trails map and flier. The map was covered in my last post.
Here is the new signage in all it’s glory:
The RTF map is on the left.
The agencies involved with the trail are represented across the bottom: Placer County, El Dorado County, US Forest Service, CA State Parks OHV, Friends of the Rubicon, Rubicon Trail Foundation, CA Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, and the Blue Ribbon Coalition.
Towards the right is some educational information including ham radio frequencies, contact information for the agencies involved, how to volunteer, driving cautions and a copy of the new tri-MVUM map.
A close up of the new map box now housing the RTF Rubicon Trail map and the new tri-MVUM of Rubicon Area OHV trails:
This was a private effort. Hopefully, in the future, the agencies listed on the sign will get together with the users to decide what more signage and information is needed at the staging area and along the trail.
The LTBMU visited the staging area and decided that the sign needed a few changes. Here is a photo of the current sign. I’m working on getting FOTR to join the party and hopefully, together, we can all get the information on the sign to reflect what the users need to travel safely and enjoy the area.
They added a full Motor Vehicle Use Map for North Tahoe and a snowmobile riding area map.