A quick timeline of events:
8/14 Caldor fire starts in the Eldorado National Forest
8/17 The Eldorado National Forest is closed
8/18 El Dorado County closes the Rubicon Trail
8/19 The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) closes the west shore
8/19 I email RTF, asking what the “heck”? The fire is 12 miles away!
8/19 An hour later Region-5 closes all northern California forests
9/15 – Region-5 reopens the forests, two days earlier than expected
9/15 El Dorado County opens the Rubicon for day use only
9/20 – The LTBMU re-closes the west shore, the Rubicon Trail and wilderness areas
9/21 – I post about the re-closure on my website, linking to the LTBMU page
9/21 I post on the RTF Facebook page about the closure
9/21 Minutes later, RTF removes my post and about the closure
9/21 I emailed the entire RTF board asking why my post was removed and why they are not getting the closure info out to the users
9/21 RTF informed me they got yelled out for lack of complete information so they’re waiting until they have all the information. We’re still waiting, more than a week later.
Bottom line, RTF is not only holding back critical information from the users, they are actively suppressing information about the Rubicon Trail being closed.
I guess the big question is why would RTF suppress this information? RTF claims they wanted ALL the correct information before posting. I say, post the facts you can prove. Link to the LTBMU website and post the actual Forest Service (FS) documents and answer questions as they come in. To date, RTF has NOT posted about the Basin closure that runs through Oct 20th.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation mission statement: “To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.”
My personal assumption is that RTF doesn’t want to be seen as unable to keep the trail open “for year-round trail access” as their mission statement claims, so they just ignoring the closure.
Back when I emailed RTF about the early (8/19) LTBMU west shore closure, I wanted someone to push back on the LTBMU jumping the gun with an over-reaction and unnecessary closure. My feelings are that if these closures don’t get pushback, the FS will continue to put these closures in place, earlier and longer. I’ll point to campfire restrictions as my example. Think about full forest closures following the same closure dates as campfires.
Now, after Region-5 re-opens all northern California forests except the Eldorado. The LTBMU places a closure order on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, including the Rubicon Trail. Why?
Recognize that the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) has not closed the portion of their forest that lies between the Eldorado and the LTBMU! The Rubicon is open from Miller Lake to Miller Creek; the Hobbit Trail is open; Ellis Peak and many other trails are open but land locked by closures and restrictions.
The Rubicon Trail is still a county road within the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the TNF. Does the Forest Service really have the authority to close a county road, with no “emergency” at hand? Remember the Caldor Fire is now 76% contained fire is 10-12 miles away.
Today’s FS press release scales down the Eldorado closure and reopens part of the Eldorado closure but the LTBMU closure documents are included without change. The Rubicon remains closed. Ironically, the Noonchester Mine Road is open off the Rubicon because the ‘closure’ is listed as “backcountry”.
So, the TNF is open, the Eldorado is starting to re-open but the west shore of the LTBMU remains closed!
The Basin has overreacted and needs to be told exactly that. RTF and others need to push back on the current closure and fight to keep the Rubicon Trail open for “motorized, year-round trail access”.
FYI, the toilets at the Tahoma staging area were closed this morning, so those going to check conditions or not knowing of the closure have nowhere but the forest along McKinney Creek to ‘go’ when visiting the staging area. Not good.
Staying with Tahoe side issues:
No word on where we stand with the snow wall at the Tahoma entrance. Last I heard, Placer County was going to continue to ‘prioritize clearing the residential streets over keeping the Rubicon entrance clear of snow’. (not a true quote, but close)
One RTF board member said he thought that meeting went well! How is that “ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access”?
Lahontan Water Authority issued a “Cease & Desist” when a small group of trail users used commercial snow removal equipment to clear the Tahoma entrance of snow piled there by Placer County.
When asked what RTF was going to do about that order, another RTF board member said that it was not their fight. How is that “ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access”?
RTF supported the reroute around “the mud hole”. They worked with the Tahoe National Forest, built a berm to control the water flow of the seasonal creek crossing, cut down trees, blocked the original trail, placed fencing & rock down to create the current bypass.
The reroute is much narrower and has tighter turns. It’s also a dust mess. Lots of erosion. I’d like to know what that reroute does to a possible future RS2477 legal challenge. Since it’s not the original county road route, can the FS seasonally close it?
Early this year, there was literally no water in the old mud hole, while the rest of the Tahoe side was a wet mess. The berm did an excellent job and the reroute is actually no longer needed as long as the berm is maintained. Are we going to go back to the original route?
As the title of this rant says, I have lost confidence in RTF to do the right thing for the users and for the trail. There is the possibility that RTF is working in the background to get things done but following the list of to-do’s mentioned above, and the length of time those issues have been active, I’m not hearing that the RTF has been successful.
I’ll even put my real name to this one…
Control of the management and maintenance of the Placer County side of the Rubicon Trail is being decided right now. Literally, right now.
Until recently, Placer County has denied any authority over the Rubicon Trail. Lately, they have decided they want or have a hand in it but don’t want the day to day responsibility of applying for grants and to manage the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail.
Placer County and El Dorado County are currently working on an MOU (memorandum of understanding) that will allow El Dorado County the full legal authority to manage the Placer County side of the Rubicon Trail. To be clear, this will give El Dorado County authority over the entire length of the Rubicon Trail. My understanding is that they are very close to making this a done deal.
On the surface, this is a good thing. Placer has failed to apply for and receive steady grant funding and really has been hands off for years. Read as no maintenance has been done on the Placer side for years. El Dorado County has been extremely successful in getting grant money for the Rubicon Trail.
The down side is the lack of transparency. El Dorado County is currently working with Placer County, the Tahoe National Forest (TNF), the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and who knows who else, in order to decide what maintenance gets done and when.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) had been the representative for the users for 15 years. Lately, El Dorado County cuts ties (probably not the best term) with RTF. I’m not sure, but I’m betting that RTF is not in the room when these negotiations are being made. I do not know of any user representative that is in the room.
Worse, projects that had been on the books to take place this summer season have been cancelled. The LTBMU cancelled the installation of a new kiosk at the Tahoma staging area along with cancelling the paving of the staging area. They literally waited until the last moment to inform some of the users. Note, the funding for these two projects ahs been in the LTBMU’s control for years. The RTF had scheduled to bring in a contractor to rebuild the 28 rolling dips within the LTBMU this fall. Again, at the last moment, the project was cancelled. They didn’t tell anyone until I went asking about it.
Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) who normally had worked closely with El Dorado County on trail maintenance projects has been dropped as a close partner and relegated to just another volunteer, ignoring their 20 year history of maintaining the Rubicon Trail.
I have been asking for information on what’s going on, where we’re going and who’s involved in making these decisions. I was told to call Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County. I replied that I didn’t want information for me but for all users. I asked that any and all information be posted for the public to view 24/7. El Dorado County and RTF have pushed back and said if you want information, call us.
El Dorado County is about to control our trail. All I’m asking for is for them to explain how that process is going to work, how they will keep the users and volunteers informed and how they will allow the users in to the decision-making process.
I don’t think I’m asking too much.
As people are just now breaking through and running the entire Rubicon Trail, some of us are still just getting our Jeeps out of hibernation.
At a recent club meeting, talk turned to the RTF trailer. We all loved that it was available for trail maintenance, but we didn’t like, or use the air of hydraulic system. Most of the time we hand pumped the trailer to dump.
I did a write-up on it years ago when it first came to the Tahoe side…
One of my buddies asked about converting it to electric over hydraulic. I wasn’t opposed to it but it wasn’t mine to make the decision. So, I reached out to ERTF to ask if we could convert it. With RTF off the hook for costs, they said go for it.
Thanks go out to Tim with the Hills Angels 4wd Club of Reno Nevada. Tim did all the fab work on the trailer. Between he and the club they covered the construction costs. For now, I’m on the hook for the cost of the parts.
Superior Hydraulics in Sparks, NV really stepped up and worked with Tim to get the hoses and fittings dialed in: www.superiorhydraulic.net/
So here are the guts. The original hydraulic cylinder was swapped out for something that would work with for us. In hind sight, the original cylinder might be able to be converted to use with the new system. Battery, electric hydraulic pump and reservoir.
A battery was added to run the electric pump. It is charged off the 7-pin connector. If you don’t have a charge on the battery, it will still do a dozen or more dumps before running low. The manual handle is no longer usable. I’m going to add a Battery Tender connection to be able to keep it charged while not in use, or just before it goes out for a day of use.
Protection is always important. Tim had some old (new old stock) Toyota skid plates around and they worked great.
Tim even went so far as to weld rings to protect the mounting bolts.
Tim has always been bothered by the noise of these trailers as they go down the trail. So, he added some rubber padding along the frame rails and a rubber bushing to hold down the bed brace rod so it won’t make noise.
We’re working on getting the official list of parts together, so if RTF wants to convert the other trailers, they have a head start. There are things we’d change if other trailers are converted but overall, we’re happy. The cost should be under $400, maybe even down to $300 if we can reuse the original cylinder.
When it’s all said and done, the trailer is faster, easier and safer to use.
It’s almost as fast fully loaded, but I’m having trouble uploading that video.
Rubicon Ronin – 6/18/19
So it doesn’t really affect the Tahoe side but it’s important Rubicon news. RTF has finalized legal wheeled access to its property along the Rubicon Trail. The RTF half section is due west of the Rubicon Springs property.
News release from RTF:
RUBICON TRAIL FOUNDATION
Contact: Rusty Folena FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1st 2016
Rubicon Trail Foundation Property Access
I would like to announce that the Rubicon Trail Foundation and Rubicon Trail Partnership have reached an agreement to access the Rubicon Trail Foundation parcel of land. We have recorded a Boundary Line Adjustment with Rubicon Trail Partnership which will give us two benefits one is access to our nearly land, and the other one is that we will own a quarter mile of land underlying the most famous trail in the world the Rubicon Trail. The Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to thank The Rubicon Trail Partnership for working with us to make this happen. There will be some great opportunities for public access to camp, explore and to enjoy he Rubicon Trail
Stay tuned for more news about what the plan is to access the property. We will have an “Open House” after the snow melts. Follow us on FaceBook and our website link to the Property Page http://www.rubicontrail.org/rtf-property.htm. Hundreds of hours of volunteer work has been done already to help with access to the property. There is more work to be done for sure. The master plan will be released soon, so please stay tuned.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) was formed in 2004. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation dedicated to the future health of the Rubicon Trail and our mission is to enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible motorized year-round trail access. FOTR (Friends of the Rubicon) and RTF works with individuals, 4×4 clubs, organizations, and agencies to maintain and manage the trail. Our Officers and Directors represent a wide variety of Rubicon Trail OHV users, land owners, county representatives, manufacturers, and event organizers.
If you would like to help with our efforts, you may send your tax deductible donations to:
Rubicon Trail Foundation PO Box 2188 Placerville, CA 95667 Paypal donations or major credit cards by calling 888-6rubicon or by signing up for a Friends of the Rubicon work party at: http://www.friendsoftherubicon.com
More information is available at http://www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org To schedule an interview with a representative of the Rubicon Trail Foundation, please e-mail president@RubiconTrailFoundation.org
The map below is virtually the same as above but outlines the parcel west (left) of the RTF parcel, highlighted. You can only imagine that the RTP owners gave up the furthest south 1/4 mile of the Rubicon to RTF. Without any knowledge of what actually happened, I’m going to guess RTF got the trail from the split at the Old True Sluice and the Indian Slabs to the southern RTP property line. And some of the property east of the trail in order to access the RTF property.
No doubt, RTF traded some of their property to RTP for this access.
Great to see this settled.
For literally three years, I been asking for some kind of documentation of what RTF does: agendas for their meetings, minutes from their meetings, an outline of what was discussed or even a quarterly statement of what they’ve done, what they’re working on and what their next project will be.
Three different directors had promised to make this happen over the years but nothing ever came of it. Well, here it is…
What’s New on the Trail?
We at RTF have been threatening to put out a newsletter on a quarterly basis for a while, and this is our first edition. We hope it reminds you how much we all love the Trail, informs you about things that are going on out there, and lets you know what RTF is doing. Here we go…
Merlin Scott and John Pardi Announce Retirement
After many years serving the Foundation and the public on the trail doing educational work, Merlin and John have announced that they will both retire after this season. Merlin wants to spend more time at home and has a bucket list of travels he wants to take. John has said he wants to pay more attention to projects at home and his Land Cruiser parts business. Both have told us that they have great memories of their years of work on the trail, and that moving on was a difficult decision to make.
We will miss them both, and have a difficult time filling their shoes.
Each update we will update status on projects recently completed and those upcoming. This has been a whirlwind year. Shannon Chard, in her first year as Trail Boss, has really set a pace.
Using grant funds from the California Office of Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation (OHMVR), El Dorado County contracted with Siller Brothers to provide 25 hours of flight time doing work such as moving rock, hauling material in for the Rubicon Green Bridge rebuild project, and placing a bathroom at Buck Island. This all took place in May, when the weather wasn’t so great…the project was visited by rain, snow, lightning, and even a little bit of sunshine.
As many are aware, the trail at Winter Camp has been a problem for Winter Closures for several years. The rock work done by DOT in 2010 had been swallowed up by the sandy roadbed, leaving a hole that consistently has deeper water that has triggered a closure. In a carefully coordinated effort, FOTR volunteers placed chain link on the sand to form a grid that should keep the rock from sinking again. As soon as the grid was placed, approximately 60 yards of rock was put on top of it. Within a few days, Forest Hill Fourwheelers came through and spread the rock to completely cover the grid. This effort will harden the trail surface and prevent winter closures from this spot for years to come.
This project will be undertaken on October 15th. That’s late in the season, but it’s been a busy year! In the last several years, El Dorado County has embraced a philosophy of “keeping the hard line hard (and hardened) and keeping the easy line easy”. At this point, Rubicon is by no means the most difficult trail around, but it is still enjoyed for its challenges. That means we want to keep the difficult lines so that those who want to, have that challenge. At the same time, not everyone wants that much challenge, or is up to it. That’s why keeping the “easy line easy” is important; to keep folks with smaller rigs or less experience from digging holes, driving off trail, or widening the trail in order to get past hard spots. Soup is a perfect example of this philosophy. The hard line on the left is all hardened (nothing but granite) so that it doesn’t cause silt to enter the drainages, and the easy line on the right needs to be kept easy and erosion free.
That’s what this project is about. Each year the sandy area at the bottom of the easy line fills with soil, and each year it gets dug out by wheelspin by the end of the season. That soil drains toward Winter Camp and eventually into streams, rivers, and lakes. When the Water Board Cleanup and Abatement Order was rescinded, El Dorado County made a commitment to continue to recognize and mitigate problems like this, and RTF supports that effort while keeping the trail open and challenging. This project will add a concrete footing to the easy line to prevent wheelspin and erosion.
The bridge at Rubicon Springs has existed in many forms over the years. Up until 1937 it was a user constructed log bridge that washed out and had to be rebuilt often. In 1937, the County erected a proper wood bridge that washed out sometime in the mid-forties. Then in 1947, the County raised the abutments and placed the existing green steel bridge structure with a wood deck. It has been rebuilt several times, mostly by volunteers; in 1962, in 1978, in 1991 and in 1996-1997. Of late it hasn’t looked so great…the approaches were too small for modern rigs and were eroding, the stringers that hold the deck up were rotting on the ends, and the runners were all but gone.
In a cooperative effort between El Dorado County, FOTR, Jeepers Jamboree, and RTF, the bridge was stripped to the metal frame and all the wood was replaced by larger pressure treated timbers and extended wing walls were poured to improve safety on the bridge approaches and prevent further damage. This was an amazing volunteer effort that spanned months in planning and totaled up hundreds of hours of work in just a few days to get it done. Special thanks to the Hi-Landers club, and especially to Bill Eister, the wood crew leader, and Wayne Lippert, the concrete crew leader. Without their expertise and hard work, it would not have happened.
Black Tie and Boots
Save the date for Black Tie and Boots, it’s Saturday, March 11th, 2017. We hope to see you all there! If you would like to be sent an invitation or would like more information please contact us at email@example.com.
RTF’s 12th Annual Cantina for the ‘Con, held at the Loon Lake Spillway over Labor Day weekend was a huge success. A giant raffle, fantastic prizes, great tacos, and good times…what’s not to like! Over $40,000 was raised to support efforts on the Rubicon Trail. Thanks to all our supporters, vendors and attendees, who donated, bought tickets, and enjoyed tacos.
At our December 14th, 2016 meeting, the Rubicon Trail Foundation will hold regular elections. There will be a total of six seats available, five of which are held by sitting directors that are re-running for their seat. The remaining seat was held by an individual that has decided not to run again. Anyone who is interested in serving on the board should contact the president, Sean Russell at 530-417-0031 or sean.russell@RubiconTrailFoundation.org.
Rubicon Trail Foundation
PO Box 2188
Placerville, CA 95667
So some interesting things to note:
- None of the trail projects noted are on the Tahoe side.
- There is no mention of RTF accomplishments
- There is no mention of current RTF projects
- There is no mention of what RTF plans to take on moving forward
Not the newsletter I was hoping for, maybe they will read this and put out a better newsletter next time.