Over the last half century, the use of the Rubicon Trail has changed many times. Back in the day, almost everyone would drive the trail from Georgetown (not Loon Lake) to Lake Tahoe, like it was a one-way road. Twenty years ago, the majority of the use would access the Rubicon Trail on the Ellis Creek Intertie/Trail and head to the Little Sluice, wheel, party, shit and go home.
The current use seems to be to trailer your rig to the trailhead, street legal or green sticker, and go access the Rubicon Trail. This is happening at all of the access points. I’m more familiar with the Tahoe end of the trail.
This report focuses on the Tahoma trailhead but the side-by-sides have found Barker Pass and are parking trailers on forest road 03-04, just south of 03. For now, there seems to be plenty of open space to park there.
On July 9th, 2022, I drove to the Tahoma staging area to meet some fellow wheelers to do some trail maintenance. The scene along the paved road into the staging area is pictured below.
For the record, I counted probably 30 rigs and trailers parked along the paved road. Three quarters of those rigs were parked illegally.
The ticket that could be written is resource damage. Although many look like they are parked on dirt, it is not legal to park ninety degrees to the road.
Some of these areas have been used for parking for years. That doesn’t make it legal.
In the photo below, work was being done on the paved road and the contractors moved the large boulders in the picture in order to park their equipment during the process. When they were done, the boulders were not put back in place to prevent illegal parking.
This is the guy who really needs a ticket. The first photo doesn’t really show the issues due to the poor photography on my part.
But the follow-up photo clearly shows this idiot parking his trailer on a bush. That is clearly resource damage.
The following Monday, I sent an email, with these pictures, to the Forest Service and to the Rubicon Trail Foundation. As off this writing, I have received absolutely no response regarding this subject.
7-11-2022Good Monday morning everyone,
This past weekend, I drove through the Tahoma staging area for the Rubicon Trail. The Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s were on our way to do trail maintenance on the Long Lake Trail and Forest Road 03-06.
Attached are several photos of the current parking situation, (taken Saturday July 9th, 2022) not only at the staging area but all along the paved road in to the staging area.
For years now there have been discussions about how to better manage the parking situation for the Rubicon Trail. Several ideas were even agreed upon but I have seen nothing done to prevent the illegal parking that is currently taking place for the Rubicon Trail.
Without doing anything to educate, enforce or engineer a better system, we can only assume it will get worse. And this was not even a holiday weekend. I counted 30 rigs with trailers parked before the staging area and another 20 parked in the staging area.
Safety must be the priority. This area needs to be managed in such a way that an emergency vehicle (police, fire, medic) going in to the staging area can get there even with a tow rig and trailer coming out.
Possible managing ideas that have been discussed, even agreed upon:
-no parking signs along the outer edge of the paved staging area
-no parking along the north side of the paved road
-physically harden both sides of the paved road to protect the forest
Ideas I don’t think have been floated before:
-expand the parking area, near current staging area or elsewhere along paved road
(I assume this is a no starter for the FS.)
-encouraging wheelers to drop trailers somewhere else, if bringing street legal rigs
-educate/encourage parking off Forest Road 03-04, side-x-sides already doing this
(This is at the top of Blackwood Canyon)
-public campaign to discourage trailer use for street legal vehicles
-parking at Homewood, drive to Rubicon via Noonchester Mine Road, $$$$$
(This could drastically change the character of the Noonchester Mine Road.)
-promote the parking of towing trucks ON their trailers while on the trail
This is an issue that needs immediate management. Although it is the responsibility of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, I think the better route to a solution is by getting as many minds as possible together to work out a solution. As soon as possible.
-just a user-
CC: Jacob Quinn, Mike Gabor, Bob Sweeney, John Arenz, Randy Burleson
My fear, if this continues, is that the anti-OHV crowd will use this as a reason to close or restrict use of our OHV trails, specifically, the Rubicon Trail. I would not put it past the Forest Service to cite this illegal activity as a reason to go after legal OHV access and activities.
Don’t get me wrong. I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy out OHV trails, green sticker or street legal, but we need to learn to do it in a way that is not going to be held against us.
I will also encourage everyone to step up with ideas to solve the problem this problem before it hurts us. Contact the Forest Service, contact RTF, talk at your next club meeting. Maybe we need volunteers to go out and harden the edges of the paved road if the Forest Service refuses to do anything. FOTR?
The old saying is that you get what you pay for, well I got a really nice set of grab handles for my Rubicon.
Here’s the website photo. I went with a black pair so they would blend in and not stand out. You need to cut away the front 2-3 inches of the stock padding of the roll cage at the windshield to mount the grab handle.
I was in too much of a hurry to take pictures during the install.
|Carolina Metal Masters, TJ/LJ Billet Front Grab Handles 1997 – 2006|
I wanted something tucked up tight and not highly visible.
I rotated it in a little so I could move it forward as far as possible.
The photo’s not the best, sorry. I wanted to make sure it fit with the doors.
Pricey but good quality. I’m happy with my purchase.
I have owned four different CJ’s over the years. I still own a 1985 CJ-7. They are the vehicle that defined Jeeping. I love them. But I’m thinking about letting my CJ-7 go because I fear it’s not safe.
This is not a lecture. I’m taking an opportunity to tell a story and to get you thinking about what you drive and where you drive it.
My neighbor’s name is Mike. He’s a machinist and CNC operator at work. He’s a really good fabricator and a great neighbor. He finally got ahold of a CJ-8 and has been building it up to do some overlanding in the Nevada desert. He was prepping his CJ-7 to sell.
On May 27th, just before 5am, Mike was driving to work in his CJ-8. He got cut off and the two vehicles collided sending Mike’s Jeep off the road, rolling over and crashing in to a tree. The Jeep caught fire. Mike was caught inside. A near-by Sheriff’s deputy was first on scene and pulled Mike to safety. But Mike wasn’t alright. He suffered head trauma, crushed C5 vertebrae, broken foot and more. Everyone who has saw the accident site says the roll bar saved his life.
Although it had a roll bar (not a cage), it did not have any air bags or crumple zones. It wadded up like stepping on an aluminum can, with Mike inside.
Miraculously, Mike is up and walking with a walker. His spirits are very high. He came home the other day and has a long road to recovery. But Mike is selling his CJ-7 and will not replace the CJ-8. He’s selling his 60’s era Ford Falcon wagon. Mike’s plan moving forward is to buy a newer Toyota Tacoma, with multiple airbags and several crumple zones. He’s swapping rigs because he wants his family to be safe driving with him. He’ll build up the Tacoma to do overlanding across Nevada.
The CJs are great rigs for wheeling. I would love to see them continue wheeling forever. But I’m thinking we should avoid driving them on the road if we don’t have to. That would include to and from the trail.
I’m thinking, if I keep my CJ-7, I will set it up to flat towing. I’ll pull it to the trail, wheel the heck out of it and tow it home. But I’ll no longer use it to drive across town to go to the hardware store or to swing by Super Burrito. It’s just not safe in a high-speed collision.
Mike’s family has set-up a ‘Go Fund Me’ account in order to deal with the medical costs associated with Mike’s accident. I didn’t write this article to solicit funds but if you can spare $20 please do. I wrote it to get those who own older rigs to think about not driving them on the street. I don’t want to see any wheeler lose their life. I want them to wheel forever.
Go Fund Me link:
Please be safe out there!
Ham radio use has come a long way on the Rubicon over the last decade.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation, driven by Dennis Mayer, has made sure there is a year-round repeater system in the Rubicon valley. This allows any Rubicon Trail user to use a ham radio to reach out to Sacramento and the Tahoe area with a handheld radio.
This system has literally saved lives since it’s installation.
Do you have your ham license? Do you want to get it?
July 19-21, at the Boomtown Casino in Nevada, the Nevada State Amateur Radio Convention will be held. Website: NVCON.org
On Saturday, July 20th, you can do a one day ham cram. The class is from 8am-3:30pm with the test immediately following. This is the quickest way to get your license.
Also at the convention are vendors, forums and a ham swap meet.
If you have the time, check it out.