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.
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.
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.
The Tahoe National Forest will be holding an open house for users to voice their opinions on what needs to be done to our TNF trails. I’m going to try and make this one but I won’t stay the full three hours.
I encourage everyone to stop by and talk OHV with those that manage our resources. It’s a great time to et to know those involved.
U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region TAHOE NATIONAL FOREST 631 Coyote Street Nevada City, CA 95959 www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe/
Contact: Joe Flannery 530-478-6205 or 530-587-3558 email@example.com February 5, 2018
Open House Planned for Tahoe National Forest Off-Highway Vehicle Program Grant Application
NEVADA CITY, Calif. – The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled an open house in preparation for an annual application to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, to request funding for trail maintenance, restoration, development of facilities, law enforcement, and planning for off-highway vehicle (OHV) access.
On Thursday, February 15, 2018, the Forest Service will host an open house from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 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,” said Joe Chavez, Tahoe National Forest Trails Program Coordinator. Written comments are encouraged by February 23.
These annual 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 6 – April 2, 2018.
What: Open House to discuss off highway vehicle grant proposals
Where: Tahoe National Forest Headquarters
631 Coyote St., Nevada City, CA 95959
Upstairs conference room (enter from upper parking lot behind building)
When: Thursday evening – February 15, 2018
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 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
Extreme Terrain has a program for helping clubs with projects on their local trails. They call it the “Clean Trail Grant Program”. They will award up to $250 to a club doing trail maintenance on a public trail. There are very few requirements and the grant application is (pardon the pun) extremely short and simple to fill out.
Along with awarding grants to clubs, Extreme Terrain has donated to the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s raffle that we hold every year at our annual Poker Run. Here’s a link to our Poker Run if you haven’t signed up yet:
This summer, I’m hoping to use this grant program for local trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin area. The Hi-Lo’s will go through the process and I’ll report back on how smooth it works out.
If you’d like more information on the “Clean Trail Grant Program” click the link below and go to the Community Support section and click on the “Clean Trails” photo.
It’s free funding for the projects you’re already planning to go out and do. Why not let Extreme Terrain help with the funding?