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.
So, I made it down Cadillac Hill this past weekend and noticed that quite a bit of work has been done. Cadillac Hill was easier than I can ever remember.
As you all know, there are several ‘famous’ obstacles along the climb up Cadillac Hill. One of those is V-Rock. V-Rock is (was) a granite slope from above the trail down to the edge of the trail with a large boulder outcropping at the edge. The angle between the granite slope and edge of the boulder created a “V” that users needed to navigate.
So here are two before any work was done. Unfortunately, not all from the same angle. The granite slope on the right slopes up more than the photo implies.
Special nod to Randy for posting a picture of his rig the last time it was running. Note the deep “V” at his front right tire.
Some work was done over the last few years to get the condition below. The “V” still has loose rock so the depth can vary. Drive it as is if so equipped; fill in a bunch of rock if you’re lower or limping out broken.
But now, after a whole bunch of concrete and rock were placed in the “V”, the “V” is now a “U”. And it’s concrete so no chance for a difficult line.
I asked before on a public forum “Who Decides?” That thread was started about a rock on Cadillac that was drilled and split, without any formal permission. The answer was if it’s a safety issue, take care of it.
What would happen if an individual made the Soup Bowl ‘safe’?
Now there are rumors that even more rocks will be split, removed, dealt with, etc. on Cadillac Hill; during the dark of night with no formal permission or discussion. Does Placer know? FOTR? RTF? TNF?
There is a new bypass on Cadillac Hill in the ‘trees’ section. I can only assume the tight turn was too much for some drivers or some rigs so they went straight through the trees. This is an illegal users created bypass and will be blocked.
In both photos below, you can see a former bypass that was blocked on the right. In the first photo right through my rear view mirror. In the second photo far right and half way up.
Bypass straight ahead, original trail to the right:
Bypass left of the tree, original trail around to the right:
I thought people drove the Rubicon Trail for a challenge?
This OHV season, the CA State Parks OHV Division made available almost $11 million dollars for OHV issues, projects, maintenance, law enforcement, education, etc.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) failed to obtain a single penny of it. In comparison, the Eldorado National Forest (ENF) received $438k and the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) received $650k.
There is a 30 day grace period for the agency requesting funds to ask that their grant be reviewed and rescored but don’t hold your breath. This is the second straight year the grant writers and administrators at the LTBMU have fallen short. I think it’s safe to say the LTBMU needs a new grant writing staff.
Here’s the problem, even though the LTBMU didn’t receive CA State Parks grant funding, they are still required to manage OHV on their forest. It’s just going to be that much more difficult without specific funding for OHV.
I’m using this lack of funding problem to push the LTBMU to reinstate the Adopt-A-Trail program they dumped two years ago.
If you or your club, group, business or organization would like to adopt an OHV trail within the LTBMU, email them, call them, hound them, do not take no for an answer, Right now I only know of the Twin peaks Trail in South Lake Tahoe, the Buck Lake Trail off the Rubicon and the Middle Fork Trail up Blackwood Canyon (just north of the Rubicon) that historically have been adopted.
That list doesn’t include the pre-Placer County Rubicon when the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s had the entire east side of the trail adopted. For adopting a section of the Placer side of the Rubicon Trail, contact the Rubicon Trail Foundation.
Here is a list of OHV trails within the basin from the LTBMU website. Not all trails are listed. Check the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for more trails.
Lake Tahoe – East Shore
- Genoa Peak Road 14N32
- Kingsbury Stinger 18E39.3
- Logan House 14N33
Lake Tahoe – North Shore
- Kings Beach 18E18
- Mt Watson 73E
Lake Tahoe – South Lake Tahoe
- Corral Trail 18E14
- Hellhouse Road 12N01D
- High Meadows Trail 18E33A
- Power Line Road 12N08
- Sand Pit 12N08
- Sawmill Pond 12N30
- Twin Peaks 12n30
Lake Tahoe – West Shore
- Buck Lake Road – 14N40
- McKinney / Rubicon Trailhead
- Noonchester 14N34A
Please step up, adopt a trail, push the LTBMU to work with the users!
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.
Friends of the Rubicon will be conducting a work party on Cadillac Hill on Saturday the 19th. They will be pouring concrete in order to secure the trail to the hill side. Don’t get bent out of shape. There has been concrete on Cadillac Hill for decades in about half dozen different spots.
Friday the 18th, they will be moving bags of concrete to the site and prepping the area.
Saturday morning, from dawn to when the concrete finally cures, the trail will be CLOSED!
Details of the project and how to jump in and help are available at the following link:
Please let Eric Agee of FOTR know if you can help out. Without these types of projects, the trail would have closed years ago. Please be supportive and plan your trip around the work being done.
A summary of the work project has been posted on Pirate: