Last Thursday, 2/20/20, El Dorado County held a Rubicon Oversight Comittee meeting in South Lake Tahoe. Here are my notes…
Rubicon Oversight Committee meeting
February 20, 2020 South Lake Tahoe
Vickie Sanders & Justin Williams El Dorado County Parks & Trails
Nineteen in attendance: eight users (six Hi-Lo’s & two Tahoe Donner 4-Wheelers) the rest were agency representatives
Not being a professional secretary, I’m just going to type out the notes I took:
16 segments within El Dorado County, one available for adoption, Buck Lake area
Holding off on adoptions of the Placer side until the major fixes have been completed
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Many agencies have come together to agree to support management and maintenance of the Rubicon Trail:
El Dorado County Placer County
Eldorado National Forest Tahoe National Forest Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit CA State Parks – OHMVR Division
Vickie Sanders is THE point of contact for all things Rubicon. She will get you in touch with the right person for you question/concern.
Rubicon Trail Foundation
RTF has donated $32,000 for ten hours of helicopter fly time to fly rock in to the trail where it is needed:
Cadillac Hill (gabions to be built on site) Swamp area near Miller Creek Hardening of rolling dips
Grants are to be written as if the trail is under the management of a single agency. This year CA State Parks wanted letters from each agency but in the future the MOU will prevent that need.
Reroute & Cadillac (not the same issue)
Plans are in the works to reroute the Rubicon Trail away from the section where the trail is about to fall off in to Miller Creek. There are old logging roads that will be used for the reroute. Part of the current grant is to do the studies needed to make this happen. This year is planning, next year is approvals, maybe to be completed in 2022.
A historical analysis of the Placer County section of the trail is just one of the studies that will need to be completed before the reroute and before ANY major work on the trail.
El Dorado County’s system is to do “major” work on the trail every other year. This give the county time to plan for future major projects and to catch-up if a “major” project drags out. 2020 is a “major” year as Cadillac Hill will see “major” work.
The Staging Area
The LTBMU received a grant to pave the staging area four years ago. That grant expires in Sept of 2020 and wasn’t enough to cover the cost of paving. With the new MOU, the Basin has reached out to El Dorado to get more money to fully complete the work. This will include expanding the size of the parking area. It also means the taking down of the trees currently within the parking area.
To Do’s: El Dorado & Placer
There is a small to do list on the El Dorado County website. Anyone, any group, can sign up to complete any of those projects.
There have been talks to pave the quad rental parking/staging area. This could lead to a snow removal contract (paid for with OHV funds) to access that parking area all winter long. Just talking right now.
Placer is still working on addressing the snow berm in Tahoma.
El Dorado County is having an F550 built to be the new Poo Pumper. RTF will no longer be contracted to do poo removal. The County has a poo pumping trailer as a back-up.
The Spider Lake repeater has been down off and on for some time. Tim Green has a separate repeater on his property that uses the same frequencies.
Tim Green also runs the “Rubicon Gazette” Facebook page. That page seems to be THE place to go for updates regarding the Rubicon Trail.
Jeepers Jamboree events
Jeepers Jamboree must now permit with the Tahoe National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit as Placer is now not managing the Rubicon. This could lead to possible closures and/or restrictions of the trail within Placer County.
Please contact Joe Chavez is you have any comments, questions or concerns about these possible restrictions.
The TNF is also looking for input about the maintenance level the Rubicon will receive. That could be in the form of what type or level of rig should the trail be maintained. As an FYI, the Fordyce Trail is maintained to a level that a competent driver, in a rig on 35” tires and one locker will face a ‘challenge’ but be passable.
Again, contact Joe is you have an opinion.
I tried to do the best I could but I’m sure I missed something or made an error. Please contact me or Vickie is you have questions or see a mistake.
USDA Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
35 College Drive
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Please Distribute Widely
Date: Feb. 11, 2020
Contact: Public Affairs, Lisa Herron 530-543-2815 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
For more information on the applications, grant process or how to comment, contact Jacob Quinn at 530-543-2609 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a more formal (minimally) camping experience in the Rubicon area, one of my suggestions is the Blackwood Campground. To get there, drive two miles up Blackwood Canyon on the paved forest road 03, then keep right on to forest road (trail) 15N38, the Middle Fork Trail. The first section of the trail to the camp area is a flat dirt road. Okay, it has a few low rollers and too many potholes, but a motorhome could get there.
This is a designated camp area so you are only allowed to put up a tent and stay over night in one of the six designated campsites. It’s a first come, first serve, no reservation area. There are two pit toilets and plenty of parking for large groups. Although the FS only allows six people per campsite per this sign posted at Blackwood but bearing the name of “Luther Pass”:
There is a large day use meeting/cooking area. Please check fire restrictions before using the BBQ. It would be a great place to have a group meet up as an alternative to the Rubicon staging area.
The campground map:
The pit toilets and ample parking.
Photos of the campsites, some are in the trees more than others. Bear boxes, fire pit with grill and a picnic bench are provided in each site.
Now the signs don’t say anything about parking regulations. So here’s a thought, if the Rubicon staging area is full, park here and either drive the highway down to the Rubicon or if you’re in a green sticker vehicle, drive the LONG drive on forest road 03 over to the Rubicon. It’s probably 15 miles.
You could take 15N38 (Middle Fork) to the summit, then 16E79 (Upper Barker Meadow) to 03, then drop down 16E76 (Lower Barker Meadow) to the Rubicon. Lower Barker Meadow OHV Route is a kick in the pants. If you haven’t done it, check it out. You will never hold the steering wheel straight.
The plan was to meet the Tahoe Donner 4wdc at the Rubicon staging area, run up the Rubicon to Forest Road 03-04 and head over to Blackwood canyon and come out the Middle Fork Trail, 15N38.
I had this feeling I needed to check the gate at the bottom of Blackwood Canyon at both Forest Road 03 and the Middle Fork Trail. The 03 road isn’t scheduled to open until June 15th, and they never OPEN roads early. The gate for 03 and the Middle Fork Trail are supposed to open June 1st. Well the main road was open but the Middle Fork Trail is still closed.
At the staging area, we ran in to another group who were planning the same route, Rubicon to 03-04- and out 15N38. I passed along the bad news. They took their six Unimogs and headed up the Richardson Lake Trail and made the summit. Some snow but enough dirt to maintain traction.
The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) posted at the Rubicon staging area has June 1st as the opening date for 15N38. The MVUM on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s (LTBMU) website has June 1st as the opening date as well. Yet the gate isn’t open. I don’t know if the gate is open at the top.
The LTBMU needs to get on top of this and fast. How many other groups are going to head north from the Rubicon expecting to get out Blackwood Canyon and find closed gates?
Maybe some new guy at the LTBMU thinks it should open with the gate on 03 just past the river on June 15th. I’ll be contacting the LTBMU in the morning about this issue. Please feel free to join me in letting them know how you feel about them not opening our OHV trail in a timely fashion.(530) 543-2600
was headed to run around the Rubicon area on the 11th and
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!