My last post outlined the work done by the Lake Tahoe Basin Mangement Unit (LTBMU). On Sunday, I ran the trail down to the Springs.
Along the way, it was clear that the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) had also done extensive work on the Rubicon Trail while it was closed. Large, crushed rock had been placed in many, many low spots along the trail. But not ALL the low spots and not in a few smaller very deep holes.
Note the low spot just past the rock in the picture below, not filled in:
The official word was that the trail was closed due to extreme fire danger. But in one report, individuals working with the ‘landowners’ were allowed on to the trail and down to the Springs. Now we have evidence that workers were doing extensive work over a long period of time. And the trail was closed due to extreme fire danger. I assume all of the workers were wearing Nomex, helmets and carrying fire shelters.
This is much needed work but why close the trail to do it?
If they had reached out to the users for help, we could have provided, trailers, warm bodies and financing to accomplish MORE work in the same amount of time. But they didn’t and we still have issues:
The Forest Service (FS) does not play well with others. This is evidence of that. Why? This work was done without the knowledge of the users, without any input from the users and without assistance of the users.
Now the FS, at least the Basin, in this case does not need to inform anyone when they work on their land. But the Tahoe should be informing the others, that are part of the MOU regarding management of the Rubicon, about work to be done on the trail. Did that happen?
Should the users be involved in this communications chain? Yes. Who should be informed on the part of the users? BRC, Cal4, United 4wd, RTF, CORVA, FOTR, local clubs, certain individuals?
More than ever,
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
-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
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.
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.
Due to the possible spread of the Mosquito Fire in the direction of the Rubicon Trail, El Dorado County has closed the Rubicon Trail until further notice. There is just a basic ‘closed’ statement on the county website.
Map of the evacuation and fire boundry:
Please avoid the area and let the firefighters do their job without having to worry about people coming in to the area.
The USFS has issued a closure but it doesn’t appear to include the Rubicon.
UPDATE WITH FURTHER CLOSURES:
The Eldorado National Forest now has a much wider closure for the Mosquito Fire:
As of this writing, the Eldorado National Forest (ENF) has implemented fire restrictions regarding the use of fire, stoves and tools within their forest.
The owners at Rubicon Springs have also implemented a no campfire rule for the rest of the summer.
No word yet from the Tahoe National Forest but I’m sure it’s coming soon.
Please be fire safe any time you’re out enjoying our national forests.