Written by Press Release on . Posted in Access and Land Use.

Water Board revises Cleanup Order to Sustain OHV Recreation

Rubicon Trail Foundation Supports Amended Cleanup and Abatement Order

Sacramento, CA (April 24, 2009).  The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) voted unanimously yesterday evening to issue a Cleanup and Abatement Order (CAO) to El Dorado County and the Eldorado National Forest for the world-famous Rubicon Trail. Before voting the order, the CVRWQB members specifically recognized the efforts of the agencies and volunteers, and asked us to honor the timelines of their request, as we continue and expand our stewardship efforts.
Note that this is NOT an order for closure, as mentioned multiple times throughout the day by CVRWQB administrative staff, prosecution staff, and the Board Members. They went out of their way to continually say that “The Water Board is not closing the trail.”

 The revised CAO is a much less prescriptive order that calls for general consideration and planning but does not mandate specific actions, instead charging the County and the National Forest with working together to meet the CAO's timelines. Rubicon Trail Foundation believes that most of the elements of this CAO were already accomplished, in process, or in plan, but supports this revised CAO, with the Foundation’s requested changes. “This CAO is a burden, but one that we can bear, and drive to success,” said John Arenz, a Rubicon Trail Foundation Director.
After the hearing presentations, the Board removed multiple pieces from the CAO: mandate for seasonal restriction (closure), incomplete and un-reviewed science, unverifiable traffic/population numbers, and references to un-certified, un-released draft planning documents. They also accepted County and Foundation feedback about timelines, and relaxed the timelines for more attainable dates, with more clear distinction between plans and documents.
Rubicon Trail Foundation's strategy was to provide specific information for the CVRWQB and rebuttal to incorrect facts and pictures provided in response to the original CAO, and then the Foundation asked for specific changes, in reference to our comments.

Rubicon Trail Foundation appreciates the huge response from trail users, who out-numbered anti-OHV attendees by nearly a hundred to 1, with a massive show of grass-roots force that filled the parking lot and overflowed into the street, as seen on News Channel 13 coverage. The prosecution team specifically acknowledged OHV affidavits in their summary statements. These were much more effective than the opposition’s simple form letter, and Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to individually thank the thousands of users who took time to sign and fax these affidavits in, with specific thanks to the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC), Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR), North American XJ Association (NAXJA), National Off Road Association (NORA), and Pirate4x4.com who were invaluable in getting out the word. NORA was especially invaluable in getting users to the Water Board offices for the hearing, and planning parking, press, and organization.
Rubicon Trail Foundation looks forward to working with continuing to work with El Dorado County, Eldorado National Forest, and the Regional Water Quality Board staff as we continue to manage this historic resource and the social and economic value it provides to the communities near it. The Foundation looks forward to continued success working with all interested parties in the well-established Rubicon Oversight Committee process.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation was formed in 2004. We are a federally recognized non-profit organization 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. The Foundation works with individuals, 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.
Legal battles are expensive to fight and Rubicon Trail Foundation is committed to doing what it takes to keep the Rubicon Trail open. We have only just begun to keep the Rubicon open for all to use. Much work remains to be done this summer and in the coming years to comply with this CAO. Letters, meetings, and presentations are just a part of what we do. We also get out in the spring/summer sun and work hard to maintain the trail. If you would like to help with our efforts, we accept Paypal donations or major credit cards by calling 888-6rubicon or by signing up for a Friends of the Rubicon work party at: www.friendsoftherubicon.com
More information is available at www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org
# # #