V-Rock now U-Rock

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.

29 V-rock

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?










The LTBMU fails to get any OHV funds

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.

CA State Parks grant results

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!






Sign updated at staging area

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:

New signage

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:

New box


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.


UPDATE 2-20-15:

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.

Staging sign by FS

They added a full Motor Vehicle Use Map for North Tahoe and a snowmobile riding area map.












FOTR work party on Cadillac Hill

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:




Suggestions sent to FOTR…

So, FOTR is holding it’s annual meeting on Saturday, May 3rd in Placerville at the DOT office. I think it starts at 9am.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend.  Bills to pay, so I have to go to work. I’d like to pass along some ideas that I hope will be discussed at the meeting.


FOTR Meetings

Let’s start right there, meetings. With only one meeting a year, odds are that some people will not be able to attend. With only one meeting, trying to follow up on action items or to plan out an entire year is difficult.

I’d like to suggest a non-symmetrical quarterly system.

Projects and Weekends: Hold a winter meeting in January to plan what projects FOTR will tackle and what weekends will be chosen for the work parties. Before the next meeting, an outline of each project should be drafted.

Leadership: The spring meeting would be held in March and would be for the details: we have the projects, we have the dates, we have an outline for each project. Who wants to lead a project, who wants to cook, who wants to do logistics, who wants to do whatever? Maybe discuss how each project needs to be tackled. The lead roles should be filled prior to the next meeting.

Worker Bees: The summer meeting in May would be presenting the completed RICS forms (or equivalent) with the IC’s, crew leaders and major logistics already in place. At this meeting we’d be looking for shovelers, check in people, trailers, etc. We’d be finalizing timelines, camping locations and what’s for dinner.

Review: The fall meeting held in September would be a review of what has been done and possible what’s left before the snow flies. The list of things to do would need to be reviewed/updated prior to the January meeting.

By splitting the one annual meeting in to four meetings, more details can be documented for each phase. More people, over the course of the year, will be able to attend and feel like they are part of the process thus increasing morale and buy-in from the users.


Membership Drive / Information Exchanges

So, how to get more people involved and informed…

My first suggestion is to post ‘Press Releases’ in as many OHV forums as possible.

The basic steps would be to slowly build an email list of people, and which forum they represent, who are willing to post any and all RTF/FOTR Press Releases on to a single forum. The individual posting the Press Release would NOT be responsible for answering any questions posted regarding the Press Release.

There would be a disclaimer on each Press Release stating that FOTR does not monitor this forum and although discussion is encouraged, any communication with FOTR should be done by emailing FOTR directly.

By sending one email, a single Press Release could easily be posted on a dozen forums. Eventually, that number could be dozens of forums. This effort would not only inform users but would also recruit volunteers.

A similar technique could be used to reach every Cal4 club in the state. Eventually other states could be included. Maybe monthly, a Press Release could be sent electronically to each club to be read at the clubs monthly meeting. This might take a little more effort to write as it would need to document what is going on with FOTR more than a month out. (Note: not every club currently has an email address on file with Cal4)

Possible wording for emails to representatives and on the Press Releases:


“You have received this email because you have volunteered to pass on information about the Rubicon Trail and Friends of the Rubicon. If you no longer wish to assist with maintaining the Rubicon Trail, please contact FOTR and you will be removed from this emailing list.”


“This forum is not being monitored by FOTR representatives, although discussion is encouraged and FOTR members might post up and answer questions and offer opinions, any comments or questions aimed directly at FOTR should be emailed directly to FOTR.”


A new position within FOTR could be created within FOTR, call it the ‘Public Relations’ person but limit the duties to dealing with emails, fliers and letters.

This person would work directly with the Trail Boss in creating Press Releases, maintaining the email lists for forums and for OHV clubs and for actually sending out the Press Releases.

The last thought in this category is to send out a questionnaire to all current FOTR volunteers, past volunteers and possible future volunteers in order to find out why volunteerism and leadership is down. Possible questions have already been forwarded to RTF. This should be sent out after an email list for forums and clubs has been developed.


Rebuild/Redirect the FOTR Leads list

This has been mentioned before but I don’t believe or never heard that it had been completed.

Currently, the Leads list falls flat when topics are brought up for discussion. If you’re going to be on the Leads list, you should make the time to get involved with the issues brought up on the email list.

I’d suggest asking each person to send a one page summary of why they want/should be on the Leads list. I don’t know how many people are currently on the Leads list but it shouldn’t be more than ten percent of the General list.

Once the new list is compiled and working, the Trail Boss should monitor who is failing to partake in the conversations. If you’re not taking part in the conversation, you get a warning; if you don’t step up and become part of the conversation; you’re off the list.

I’d like to see this change in order to drive more people to take part in discussing the current topics/issues facing the Rubicon Trail.


Organization Chart

There is an FOTR organizational chart and responsibilities for each position floating around from 2010. I believe it was a Bebe creation. Let’s fill it in.

Looking at the list, the only name I could fill in right now is that of Jerry Reffner as Trail Boss.

I currently hold the position of liaison with the TNF. John Briggs is the liaison with Placer County. Kade Hendricks is the current liaison with the LTBMU. Not major roles but they would fall in under Planning if the chart were expanded in detail. I know of no other roles current filled.

The suggestion above about clubs and forums could be driven by a Comms Chief. Below I suggest a Plans or Ops Chief to maintain a current “To Do List”. An RTF director should be the Finance Chief as RTF funds most of FOTR’s efforts.

I think in order to fill these positions we need to detail out the role and responsibilities of each and every position including the role of Trail Boss.


To Do List(s)

Create a single list of things to do for the entire trail. Then, prioritize or choose items from the list for 2014. GPS each issue. This summer, I will be getting GPS numbers for each item on the Tahoe Side to do list.

Currently, we have FOUR different “To Do Lists” floating around:

  1. Geographically east to west, by Doug
  2. A categorized but not prioritized list, by Rusty
  3. The Tahoe side priorities, by Tahoe side users
  4. Placer County’s priorities from ’13 FOTR meeting, by Kansas

This duty should fall to a Planning or Operations Chief. I do not favor a single person deciding what FOTR should work on. I’d like to see a committee working under Plans/Ops of six to eight people sit down and keep an eye on what issues face the trail and which are priorities.

This committee should maintain a list of 4-5 items that need to be done on the trail. This list should be posted on the FOTR website.



  • Develop an FOTR mission statement
  • Define the objectives of FOTR
  • Maintain the FOTR website with current information
  • Reach out to motorcycle, quad and side-by-side users
  • Education of volunteers: Offer training for leading a crew or a project; writing letters, emails, grants; filling RICS positions; basic organizational skills

Just thinking out loud…