Working two fronts on the Rubicon these days: TNF and trail maintenance and Placer County and snow at the entrance.
For the record, I’ve been working with or fighting with Placer County over snow at the trailhead for more than three years. I’ve attended many meetings with former Supervisor Montgomery regarding this issue. Nothing came from those meetings.
Yesterday, a good group met at the trailhead: Placer County, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and users. There were about eight of us.
My takeaways were that Placer County would move the winter parking rules sign closer to the road (Evergreen Way) and mount it higher. The plow operators would try and recognize the Rubicon as a driveway. Placer would try and reach out to the local snow removal contractors and the local homeowners association.
Placer County is going to try and get a local community meeting set up for January in Tahoe City to try and get everyone in the same room to work out solutions.
The commercial snow removal contractor that cleared the trail a number of times last winter was on hand. He offered to occasionally use his equipment to clear the berm as needed but not regularly.
Ideas that were also discussed were notching the berm so any ramp built would not interfere with traffic on Evergreen Way. Placer thought this might promote parking in that notch thus blocking the trail.
Other thoughts were to groom or plow the first part of the Rubicon, either to the quad parking area or all the way to the staging area. This would need a grant written to fund those ideas. Maybe in the next few years.
The entrance will probably get large 4×4 markers to let everyone know exactly where the trail starts. We are also discussing putting up a warning sign. I might have shared it here before:
This sign would be put in two places, about 200 yards up from Evergreen Way and on the trail just after leaving the staging area.
In the end I was happy at how things had moved forward, then Peter Kraatz sent out a late email last night.
Peter asked if we could “table” the use of commercial equipment until he could work out a few things as use of that equipment could bring complaints. This point was at the heart of getting and keeping access.
This morning, I fired off a email to the group that has been talking about this for weeks, Peter included. I told Peter “No”, I would not back off on the use of commercial equipment and that he had until the berm gets built up with snow fall and illegal dumping to get his act together.
Yesterday, a group of four Jeeps and seven people headed out to do a little maintenance: Dean, John, Doug, Dean, Gary, Carlos and Don.
Our goal was a general clearing of trees and branches encroaching on the trail, draining some water, removing a large tree from the trail and shoveling down a huge snow berm.
Well, my thanks go out to whoever got out and shoveled the snow. The berm was gone by the time we got there.
We got everything else done and then headed up the Buck Lake Trail to clear more downed trees. Well, again, someone got there before us. So thanks to whoever that was.
So, for the most part, the Rubicon on the Tahoe side is clear of trees and major snow. There is still a lot of water on the trail. Please tread lightly and stay on the trail.
Thanks again to John for putting yesterday together and all of those who were there to help out on very short notice.
Third day in a row on the Rubicon. This time as a passenger.
So, picking up where I left off yesterday, here is the off-camber section just past the turn to Ellis Peak.
Dean went ahead a drove this as it was. For the other three rigs, I dug a trench for the high side tires. It lessens the side hill and provides a track to prevent sliding off the snow in to the mud.
Of course John did it with his tire carrier swinging. The next obstacle stopped everyone. All four rigs took a winch.
Once out of the Basin and in to the Tahoe, there was snow everywhere in various forms…
But we did make it all the way to Observation Point! It was windy, and I mean WINDY!
Of course, on the way out we came across a downed tree. As in down across the trail. It wasn’t there on the way in.
I had a hand saw but John had a chain saw.
And off we went…
Please go prepared. Turn Around, Don’t Go Around. Don’t drive off trail if you or your rig can’t handle the obstacle.
Okay, I got out on the Rubicon yesterday (6.25.19) as opposed to the Buck Lake Trail the day before that had tree issues.
We got as far as the pond at the Ellis Peak Trail and turned around at the intersection.
Below is the view looking further down the Rubicon. Snow! Lots of side hill action. That’s why we turned around.
This is the view up the Ellis Peak Trail. Nobody’s been there yet.
After the turn around, we poked up the Richardson Lake trail thinking we’d go to the top for the view from Sourdough. Nope! Again, crazy side hill right before the cabin. The pond on the right is a somewhat deep sediment trap.
If you go, be prepared to dig and saw. Snow everywhere, trees still across the trail.
Stay on the trail. If you are not prepared to deal with what is on the trail, Turn Around, Don’t Go Around!
Probably to no one’s surprise, the Eldorado National Forest has delayed the opening of it’s OHV trails from April 1st to April 16th. This doesn’t effect our side too much except for the Richardson Lake Trail 14N39.
Although some of the more built rigs will be able to get to the 14N39 trailhead before April 16th, most of us will have no chance to get to the trailhead let alone run that trail to higher elevations.
Please stay off this trail until the trail officially opens. Below is the Forest Service press release regarding the subject…
Seasonal road and motorized trail closure extended to April 15
PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Based on recent precipitation, the seasonal closure of native surface roads and motorized trails (commonly known as dirt roads) in the Eldorado National Forest has been extended to April 15. Rainfall, soil moisture, road and trail conditions, and weather forecasts are factors that trigger extending the seasonal closure beyond March 31.
“My goal is to have these roads and trails open as soon as possible for public use,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “However, there has been a lot of precipitation in the last several weeks. Given current conditions, many of these roads could be badly damaged.”
The seasonal closure is designed to protect roadbeds and watersheds from damage and to protect water quality. A minimum three month closure period from January 1 through March 31 was designated for the core part of the wet season in the Eldorado National Forest Travel Management Plan. This plan also allows the seasonal dirt road closure to start earlier or be extended based on actual conditions in a given year.
Roads and trails subject to seasonal closure are marked with a “Seasonal Designation” on the current motor vehicle use map that is available free-of-charge at all Eldorado National Forest offices and on the web at: www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. The seasonal closure does not affect routes in the Rock Creek Area near Georgetown, which has its own wet weather route closure process.
When the roads open, there will still be wet areas at higher elevations for some time. Many routes change in elevation over several miles. Visitors are encouraged to be aware of changes in the conditions of the roads they are using, and to adjust travel plans when they reach a wet section as they will be responsible for any resource damage caused by inappropriate use.