LTBMU Open House for OHV Grant review

One more…

NEWS RELEASE

USDA Forest Service

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

35 College Drive

South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

(530) 543-2600

http://www.fs.usda.gov/ltbmu

Please Distribute Widely

Date: Feb. 11, 2020

Contact:  Public Affairs, Lisa Herron 530-543-2815 or lisa.herron@usda.gov 

Forest Service hosts off-highway vehicle grant open house

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., Feb. 11, 2020 The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) will host an open house in South Lake Tahoe on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, to provide information and seek public input on our annual California Department of Parks and Recreation Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division grant applications. The OHMVR applications request funding for trail maintenance and operation of facilities for off-highway vehicle access in the Tahoe Basin.

The open house will take place in the Emerald Bay Room at the Forest Supervisor’s office in South Lake Tahoe, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, CA  96150. The public may arrive anytime between 4 and 6 p.m. and visit informational stations, talk with staff and ask questions. There will be no formal presentation. The 60-day grant application comment period begins Tuesday, March 3, 2020, and ends Monday, May 4.

“We encourage anyone interested in off-highway vehicle recreation to join us for this event,” said LTBMU Trails Engineer, Jacob Quinn. “Participants can learn about the outstanding off-highway vehicle opportunities in the Lake Tahoe Basin and how these grants support the operations and maintenance of our off-highway vehicle programs.”

For requests for reasonable accommodation access to the facility or proceedings, contact Adrian Escobedo at 530-543-2758 or email adrian.escobedo@usda.gov.   

For more information on the applications, grant process or how to comment, contact Jacob Quinn at 530-543-2609 or email jacob.quinn@usda.gov.  

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OHV Grant Open Houses

Sorry for the late, and short, notice but I’ve been out of state.

Tis the season for those applying for OHV grants through the CA State Parks – OHMVR Division to host open houses to ask for feedback to the grants they have written.

Here’s the rub. Those agencies are REQUIRED to ask for feedback to their grants. If the agency does not hold an open house, the grant will be denied. But, those agencies are under no requirement to change the grant regardless of the feedback from those attending the open houses.

This point was realized by me when the Lake Tahoe Basin Mgnt Unit wrote a grant for an OHV route that was mostly used by mountain bikers. The work proposed was to be done by a mountain bike trail building company. The volunteers cited in the grant was IMBA and TAMBA mountain bike groups. I rallied quite a negative response to the grant and the Basin said in a face to face meeting that they would not change the grant.

CA State Parks heard the negative feedback and the grant was denied on a technicality. Coinsident?

Anyway, the Tahoe National Fortest is holding an open house…

Open House Meeting: Tahoe National Forest Off-Highway Vehicle Grant Discussion

Nevada City, Calif. – The U.S. Forest Service is preparing an annual application to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, to request funding for trail maintenance, law enforcement, education and safety, and potentially development of facilities, restoration and planning for off-highway vehicle (OHV) access.

On Thursday, February 13, 2020, the Forest Service will host an open house from 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. for individuals and organizations to provide input and review proposals for the application.

“I encourage anyone interested in the OHV program to drop by this informal open house to discuss their ideas on these proposals. Written comments are most helpful if sent by February 22,” stated Joe Chavez, Tahoe National Forest Trails Program Coordinator.

These annual OHV grants provide important funds for the Forest Service to develop and maintain trails and trailheads, repair winter storm damage and restore trailside environments, as well as provide patrolling and monitoring of these areas. When finalized, the grants will be available for public review and comment on the State of California’s website (http://ohv.parks.ca.gov) from March 3 – May 4, 2020.

Open House Meeting Location: Tahoe National Forest Headquarters, 631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA  95959. Upstairs conference room (enter from upper parking lot in back of building).

Date and Time: Thursday – February 13, 2020. 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Questions, comments or letters can be directed to: Joe Chavez, Forest Trails Program Coordinator, Tahoe National Forest, 631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA 95959; Email: joetchavez@fs.fed.us or (530) 478-6158.

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The Eldorado National Forest is also holding an open house…

PLACERVILLE, Calif. – The public is invited to an Open House on Wednesday, February 12 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM to discuss grant applications that the Eldorado National Forest will be submitting for Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Cooperative Funds during the upcoming 2019/2020 grant cycle.   The Forest is currently in the process of developing preliminary proposals to the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR) Division with an emphasis on trail maintenance and repair; law enforcement across all four Ranger Districts; printing and distribution of Motor Vehicle Use Maps; and education. Public input is very helpful in the development of these proposals. All who are interested in the forest’s OHV Program are encouraged to attend the Open House.   This OHV Grants Open House will be held at the Eldorado National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 95667. For directions, call (530) 622-5061.   The Eldorado National Forest has been successful in receiving grants from the OHMVR Division in previous grant cycles. The grants have helped address trail repair and clearing of downed trees on over 300 miles of OHV routes, as well as law enforcement patrol on an additional 900 miles of native surface roads. These grants also make it possible to provide free Motor Vehicle Use Maps, as well as other planning, development, and restoration activities.   Once completed, the preliminary grant applications will be available on the OHMVR website on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 through Monday, June 1, 2020 for review and comment. To review the grant applications submitted, go to http://olga.ohv.parks.ca.gov/egrams_ohmvr/user/home.aspx.   The public may provide electronic comments to the Eldorado National Forest (applicant) by e-mailing Michelle Zuro-Kreimer at michelle.zuro-kreimer@usda.gov and carbon copying (cc) the OHMVR Division at ohvinfo@parks.ca.gov.   Written comments, suggestions, or letters of support for the applications can be sent to Michelle Zuro-Kreimer, Eldorado National Forest, 100 Forni Road, Placerville, CA 95667 .   For more information about recreation on the Eldorado National Forest, visit the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado.   ###

Meeting w/ the TNF: 12/18/19

In my last post, I really laid in to the Tahoe National Forest. I was not alone in my position. Those who held similar views gathered with me at the TNF offices this morning to converse with Joe Chavez.

It was a full room:

Joe Chavez – TNF head ranger

John Brokaw – TNF Truckee district OHV guy

Will Harris – TNF Archeologist / surveyor

Jack Sweeney – former El Dorado County Superviser

Bob Sweeney – President Jeepers Jamboree

Vickie Sanders – El Dorado County Parks & Trails

Justin (missed his last name) – El Dorado County Parks & Trails

Doug Barr – Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s Vice President

Callan McLaughlin – CA State Parks OHMVR

Brian Robertson – CA State Parks OHMVR

To their credit, the TNF acknowledged that they could have done a better job at reaching out to all the groups that have an interest in the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail.

Many expressed concerns over the dirt work done very late in the season. The TNF pushed back on this a few times noting they do it elsewhere and that a snow storm was coming in to harden the lose dirt berms and prevent erosion.

I think it was determined that such dirt work would not be done so late in the year due to proper planning and scheduling.

At the end of the day, I think everyone agreed that a better communications system needs to be in place moving forward. All agencies and groups will be in the loop. Formal open house meetings will take place prior to doing any work.

Hopefully, public meetings will take place to include the public in the planning process. We should be able to bring our concerns and thoughts about maintenance to the agencies responsible for getting it done.

One of the more surprising moments was when Jack Sweeney laid out the process that El Dorado County used to get an easement from the Forest Service. He said they stopped at the Placer County line only because they could not work in Placer County but that the argument for an easement within El Dorado carried through Placer County all the way to Lake Tahoe.

The other thing I learned was that there is a second document to follow the MOU. This second document should clear up the details as the MOU was very vague.

Concerns linger about who can and should write grants for the Rubicon Trail. The CA State Parks OHMVR Division recognizes that an agency can write a grant for the entire length of the trail. But, no two agencies can write a grant for the same section of OHV trail. So the El Dorado County and the TNF can not BOTH write grants for the same section of trail. All of the agencies will need to coordinate their grant requests so they don’t all get thrown out.

It was a good start at laying the ground work for getting all the agencies together, on the same page for future maintenance.

Tomorrow, there is a meeting with Placer County at the eastern trailhead to discuss the snow berm, illegal snow dumping and how Placer’s plowing adds to that berm.

Stay tuned…


Rubicon Tour & maintenance plan

On Wednesday, August the 29th, I lead a tour of the Placer County portion of the trail for agency representatives responsible for maintenance on the Rubicon Trail. We had 23 people, nine rigs, one side-by-side and one quad. We had nine different agencies and groups represented.

There are plans in the works for El Dorado County, specifically Vickie Sander, to take over maintenance of the Placer County end of the trail. This would be done with a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU). There is talk that ALL the agencies would sign on: El Dorado County, Placer County, Eldorado National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, CA State Parks Central Valley Water Authority and Lahontan Water Authority.

This would streamline our efforts and get everyone on the same page. Funding for the Placer side should increase but matching funds could be tricky for the first few years. If you do any kind of maintenance on the Placer side (get permission first) document your work and the names and time spent for each volunteer. And turn them in to Placer County. Those hours add up.

We gathered at the Tahoma staging area around 8am. The safety and trip briefing were given at 8:30. The discussion started at 9am and by 9:15 we were on the trail.

Too many details to get in to here but we talked about everything from paving the staging area (May 2019) to work on hardening the ‘soft’ area west of Miller Creek.

All the agency reps stepped up, made constructive comments and sounded very positive about moving forward. The success of El Dorado in funding and work done on the trail had everyone leaving with very positive hopes.

FOTR should have a few smaller projects to be done before the snow flies. There will be more tours and we’ll need drivers. The Spring will bring a very early FOTR “Shovel Brigade” to clear the trail of major snow drifts to keep users on the trail. Spring tours are a must to see how and where the water currently flows during the spring melt.

Sorry for no pictures but I was talking most of the time.

We stopped a number of times on the way in to discuss current issues. Lunch at Observation was provided by the Rubicon Trail Foundation. We turned around near ‘Backdoor’ around 2:30. By 5pm we were back at the staging area. No break downs, no body got stuck, no body got hurt. It was a great day.

Again, thank you to my volunteer drivers, though most of the agencies brought transportation.

 

Rubicon Ronin

 


2018 FOTR Meeting

The annual FOTR meeting took place this morning at the Metal Cloak facility in Sacramento.

There was a good turn out; a couple of speakers; elections; food; etc.

Important to the Tahoe Side, Eldorado County is looking to get in to a memorandum of Understanding with Placer County to mange the Placer County portion of the trail. Vickie Sanders, with Eldorado County Parks, has always been there for the Rubicon Trail. She has now formally stepped up to help manage the Placer side.

Let’s hope that goes through.

The agreement would allow Vickie to write a single grant that would cover the entire trail. The debate of why can they do that on their side and we can’t argument would be gone as the trail would be managed by one agency. FYI, the LTBMU is onboard with the new management possibility.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation is looking for a caretaker to manage their property this coming season. I believe I heard it will only be open on weekends June through Sept. This season might bring two cabins on the property which would allow a caretaker to stay throughout the week and keep the property open seven days a week. The property swap agreement to allow a road to the property requires a caretaker in order for the property to be open to the public.

Tahoe side to do were discussed. Priorities are going to be set and volunteers will be needed. Please contact the newly re-elected Trail Boss, Shannon Chard at LaughingPlace76@yahoo.com if you would like to volunteer to work on the trail.

If you did work on the Rubicon within Placer County last year, please document your hours and get them to Shannon or Kansas with Placer County. If you do work this coming season, again, get your hours to Shannon or Placer County. Your volunteer hours count as cash for matching funds the counties need to come up with in order to get grant money.

Work on Cadillac Hill has already been scheduled at the lower Hairpin. Jeepers Jamboree is leading that project.

John Briggs has stepped down from the Tahoe Side Lead position after three years of service. FOTR is looking for someone to take over this position. John and others will be helping out who ever takes on that position.

 

Rubicon Ronin