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Dedicated to conservation and multiple use of public lands for recreation opportunities.

Edited by: John Stewart

What's this about re-routing the access to the Rubicon Trail?

By: Randy Burleson - 10/01/2002

In an effort that's been under discussion for most of 2002, the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) organization is helping to re-route a short section of the Ellis Creek trail which accesses the world-famous Rubicon trail from Loon Lake. This project will minimize erosion, decrease off-trail trespasses into a meadow, and generally improve the trail experience. This is a good result for enthusiasts and the trail -- they get a better bunch of boulders and slabs and at the same time, minimize vehicle traffic on less-hardened trail. Surveyors will be plotting the exact location of the new section of trail in preparation for the property owners and the Forest Service granting formal easements for the trail to El Dorado County -- this is an even better situation than present, since the current stretch of trail between Loon Lake and Ellis Creek is not a formal OHV route. The new easements open up the possibility that the county can formally recognize this segment of the trail as part of the Rubicon Trail System, with full cooperation of the Forest Service and the affected private land owners.

This topo map shows an approximation of the re-route. The base map is borrowed without permission (sorry!) from the excellent site at: http://www.rubicontrail.com and will be replaced shortly.
In the map, you see the northwest corner of Pleasant/Loon Lake, where Ellis Creek empties into it:
* bold brown line is the official Rubicon Road that connects Wentworth Springs and Rubicon Springs
* dotted red line is the trail between Loon Lake and Ellis Creek, it extends off the bottom of the map to the Loon Lake dam spillway
* orange line is the user-created section of trail that will be closed off
* green line is a section of the original Loon access trail that hasn't see a lot of recent use
* short purple/blue line is the new trail FOTR put in across private land
* short red line headed northwest is the dirt road to McKinstry Lake

Multiple Groups Work Together

On 10/13/2002, Joe Pasic served as FOTR's job foreman and did a great job leading a crew of FOTR volunteers. We met up with the landowners and some Jeep Jamboree and Jeepers Jamboree representatives to do the prep work for the heavy equipment. This work included marking survey points for greater visibility, clearing brush for the new section of trail, marking the new section of the trail with boulders and cairns, as well as transportation of bales of rice straw. It was a long day and hard work, but this prep work allows the heavy equipment operator to focus on the heavy work. The Annual Pirate4x4.com Cleanup follows close on the heels of the equipment work, and hundreds of volunteers will pitch in to help spread rice straw, move boulders to define the trail, etc.

Politics and Planning

The OHV Commission and Forest Service have led multiple on-the-ground tours (including jamboree, CA4WDC, BRC, FOTR, clubs, and even Karen Schambach) of the section of the trail proposed for closure, as well as the new section of the trail. This work was discussed last May at the general meeting with El Dorado County, and since then at the Rubicon Oversight Committee roundtable meetings, where Del Albright, FOTR's point man, is a key member. The Forest Service came to Del to ask FOTR's help in implementing this project. Del reports that he is pleased with the progress FOTR volunteers have made, and also pleased that one of FOTR's significant supporters, the Pirates and Pirate4x4.com, can follow-up on the heavy equipment work and really put some man-hours into trail work. This is another great opportunity to prove the effectiveness of organized enthusiasts... and the benefits of cooperation between private landowners, the Forest Service, local enthusiast groups, environmental groups, state associations, and national land-use organizations.


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