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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
So, I made it down Cadillac Hill this past weekend and noticed that quite a bit of work has been done. Cadillac Hill was easier than I can ever remember.
As you all know, there are several ‘famous’ obstacles along the climb up Cadillac Hill. One of those is V-Rock. V-Rock is (was) a granite slope from above the trail down to the edge of the trail with a large boulder outcropping at the edge. The angle between the granite slope and edge of the boulder created a “V” that users needed to navigate.
So here are two before any work was done. Unfortunately, not all from the same angle. The granite slope on the right slopes up more than the photo implies.
Special nod to Randy for posting a picture of his rig the last time it was running. Note the deep “V” at his front right tire.
Some work was done over the last few years to get the condition below. The “V” still has loose rock so the depth can vary. Drive it as is if so equipped; fill in a bunch of rock if you’re lower or limping out broken.
But now, after a whole bunch of concrete and rock were placed in the “V”, the “V” is now a “U”. And it’s concrete so no chance for a difficult line.
I asked before on a public forum “Who Decides?” That thread was started about a rock on Cadillac that was drilled and split, without any formal permission. The answer was if it’s a safety issue, take care of it.
What would happen if an individual made the Soup Bowl ‘safe’?
Now there are rumors that even more rocks will be split, removed, dealt with, etc. on Cadillac Hill; during the dark of night with no formal permission or discussion. Does Placer know? FOTR? RTF? TNF?
There is a new bypass on Cadillac Hill in the ‘trees’ section. I can only assume the tight turn was too much for some drivers or some rigs so they went straight through the trees. This is an illegal users created bypass and will be blocked.
In both photos below, you can see a former bypass that was blocked on the right. In the first photo right through my rear view mirror. In the second photo far right and half way up.
Bypass straight ahead, original trail to the right:
Bypass left of the tree, original trail around to the right:
I thought people drove the Rubicon Trail for a challenge?