The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) both closed the Rubicon Trail for no justifiable reason during the Mosquito Fire.
Although the closure notices went up quickly, it was a fight to get the Forest Service (FS) to remove the forest order from their website. Many organizations and individuals pressured the Forest Service until the orders were removed. The last order was finally removed from the FS website on October 4th. Remember that on September 27th, the closure order was officially terminated. That’s a full week, for those of you counting.
But what about out on the trail? On Sunday, October 2nd, I ventured out on the trail. This sign was found at the intersection of the Rubicon Trail and the Buck Lake Trail. It was knocked over but still left on the trail.
Take a moment to read those signs that were publicly posted. The FS was posting that the entire forest was closed when in fact only the Rubicon Trail was closed by the forest order. That’s a bit of an overreach.
If we continue to allow the FS to abuse their power, they will only continue to increase the level and frequency of that abuse.
More of a concern, this posting was discovered on a tree along the Rubicon Trail at the intersection of the Ellis Peak Trail. It is a laminated copy of the forest order closing the Rubicon Trail and the associated map. No evidence of the associated termination order issued almost a week ago.
Those signs are no longer in public view but why didn’t the FS do a better job of removing all evidence of the closure?
At the old ATV rental parking area, along the paved portion, the barricades used to block public access were still alongside the Rubicon Trail. One view could be that the FS just hasn’t come back to pick them up or you could think that FS is just leaving them there for the next closure. I’m betting that the two FS guards that staffed the barricade were in a pick-up truck and could have removed the signage when they left.
We all need to keep an eye on all FS actions that close our public lands. We need to challenge each and every closure. And when they reopen, we need to make sure the FS posts the reopening as fast as it posted the closure. Obviously, it will be up to us to get the word out as soon as possible.