Rubicon Trail Meeting Reno Nevada, March 26th

We had about fifty people show up for the meeting Saturday morning. Sorry, no pictures.

The majority of the group were the regular players, El Dorado County, Rubicon Trail Foundation, Friends of the Rubicon, CA Off Road Vehicle Assoc., Nevada Four Wheel Drive Assoc., Forest Service and private property owners, but there were, of course, the users.

Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County lead the show. She reviewed the list of questions submitted to the governing groups and agencies prior to the meeting. Most of those groups and agencies were there to expanded and clarified on those answers. I am trying to get an electronic copy of the questions and answers to post up, stay tuned.

Placer County was a no show. They did provide written answers to the questions sent but did not provide a representative at the meeting.

Overview:

El Dorado County has obtained and spent 35 million dollars of OHV grant funding on the trail to date! Helicopters will fly this summer working from Arnold’s Rock to the Springs. RTF will fund heavy equipment to rework the rolling dips within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. RTF will manage opening the Tahoma staging area bathrooms earlier in the season and keeping them open later in the year.

Tahoe side adoptions are possible but not yet organized: sections of the Rubicon Trail, rolling dips within the LTBMU and campsites along the trail.

Parking at the staging area was discussed and will likely include no parking along the outside edge of the staging area to allow a permanent ‘through route’ for users and more specifically emergency equipment.

The hot topic was the always reappearing Snow Wall. Somehow, an excess of snow is appearing at the Rubicon Trail entrance. Placer County claims they are plowing linerally, only a blade pushing snow to the side. Yet they have and use a rotary blade in the area. Placer is standing by their current practices. Hopefully, a meeting will be scheduled that will include Placer County, OHV users’ groups and the local residents to finally come to a solution to this issue. Many solutions were documented and will be followed up on.

Another longer-term thought would be to make the Rubicon Trail a Sno-Park, similar to Blackwood Canyon, but allowing wheeled vehicles. Plow the road up to a parking lot where OHV users could bring in a trailered rig. Yes, there would be a parking fee associated with the Sno-Park. We anticipate that the local residents would strongly oppose this idea. This was only a thought; no action will be taken at this time.

Better communications were promised both between those involved in management and communications to the users.

El Dorado County, Placer County and CA State Parks LEOs have entered into their own MOU to ensure law enforcement across the entire Rubicon Trail.

The suggestion has been made that a similar meeting needs to take place every year, in order to continue the open communications. These meetings could rotate through different cities: Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Placerville, Auburn and Sacramento. Stay tuned.

Overall, it was a good meeting. We needed to get people in the same room and away from their keyboards. Nothing was solved and Placer was a no show, but we are moving in the right direction.

Hopefully, I’ll have those questions and answers to post soon.

.

Doug

-aka, Rubicon Ronin


“FLASH” Rubicon Trail Maintenance

“Get out your green shovel! Put on your FORT shirts. FOTR is back!”

This is the entrance to the Rubicon Trail as of 9am this morning. Not accessible!

Okay, this is not an official FOTR project, but it should be. I have reached out to FOTR but honestly, I didn’t give them enough time to respond before I posted.

.

Calling all Rubicon users. I am putting together a “flash” Rubicon Trail maintenance effort for this Saturday, March 12th, 9am.

We will be removing the 8-foot snow wall currently blocking wheeled access to the Rubicon Trail. This effort has Placer County approval!

9am    Arrive at trailhead, please do not arrive early.

          Stop your vehicle in the street as if you’re waiting to drive up the Rubicon.

          Do not “park” along the side of the road, parking is illegal this time of year.

9:15   Safety and Operational Briefing

9:30   Start snow removal

The goal is to reduce the wall to a ramp

All snow will remain on McKinney Rubicon Road

No snow will be moved on to Evergreen Street

If the wall does not give in easily, we will try using chainsaws to get through the ice.

Please bring: Shovels, Pick Axes, Digging Bars, Food & Drink for yourself, Gloves, Waterproof Pants, Sunglasses, etc.

Snowblowers are not allowed at this time.

I just got the word that no mechanized equipment may be used to remove snow from the entrance of the Rubicon. So, chainsaws are out.

Here’s the challenge. Who’s got a bigger saw than I do? Mine’s got a 36″ cutting edge!

I will supply doughnuts and some drinks for hydration.

No idea how many people will show up.

.

Rubicon Ronin


Out of towner caught in surprise snowfall

I just heard a funny story. It’s only funny because no one got hurt. The story could have had a very different outcome.

So, a guy and his wife are traveling across country in their modified Sprinter van. The wife has something to do all day and will be staying with a friend that night. So, the husband decides to camp at Tahoe for the night.

He drives up Blackwood Canyon, a paved road, and sets up camp only a half mile from the summit. It’s cloudy, it’s raining a bit but he’s in his Sprinter van that he and his wife have been living out of for weeks on the road.

It starts to rain.

He goes to sleep.

He wakes up with three feet of snow all around his van.

He’s wearing shorts and sandals.

He thinks he’s screwed.

He has one bar of cell coverage on his phone. He calls his wife. She calls the Sheriff. Placer County Search & Rescue rolls out their snow cat and goes up to rescue him. He asks about getting his Sprinter van out. They tell him it might be there until spring. They take him down the hill without his van.

He calls around and gets Nick of the Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s. Nick has a rescue service when he’s not engineering something or racing the Baja 100, literally. Nick was instrumental in recovering “Glacier Girl” which was buried under eight feet of snow some years ago.

The guy thought he was prepared. He had the traction block, tracks, boards things. The problem was that they were mounted UNDER the rig. Hard to get to with three feet of snow all around.

Nick was the hero again. It took some work. The Sprinter is only 4wd if the rear axle starts to slip. Nick had to literally pull the van DOWN the hill the snow was so thick even after it was packed down by the snow cat.

This should be a lesson to everyone. Check the weather before you travel.

Be safe, don’t be this guy.

.

Rubicon Ronin


Rubicon meeting tonight 3/12 — CANCELLED — due to Corona Virus Fears

Update, I just received word from Placer County that the scheduled MAC meeting for tonight has been cancelled due to Corona Virus fears. When the meeting does take place with the Rubicon on the agenda, I will let you know.

I just received notice (last night late) that there will be a Placer County meeting tonight that has the Rubicon on the agenda. They will be discussing the snowberm and winter use of the Rubicon Trail.

MAC meeting, 6:00 PM, Thursday, March 12, Tahoe City PUD, 221 Fairway Drive, Tahoe City, CA

On the agenda is:

Rubicon Trail Winter Usage and Trailhead Update

County staff will provide an update on Rubicon Trail winter usage and the trailhead in the McKinney Rubicon neighborhood.

Presenter: Peter Kraatz, Department of Public Works

I will try and attend to represent the interests of OHV.

.

Rubicon Ronin


Rubicon Oversight Committee meeting

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:

Adopt-a-trail

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

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.

Winter issues

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.

Outhouses

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.

Ham

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.

Maintenance levels

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.

Thanks,

Doug