By Chris Cowan

Have a Safe & Fun Labor Day Weekend!

The Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to wish everyone a Safe & Fun Labor Day Weekend!

Reminder: Cantina for the Con has been postponed this year

Here are some helpful safety tips so you all enjoy your celebratory weekend:

  1.  Going on a road trip? This is one of the busiest weekends on the road. tell people where you are going and when you plan to return, pack all weather clothes, and plenty of food and water.  Do not forget to have your emergency pack in your vehicles to include flashlight, jumper cables, tool kit, and tire gauge.
  2. Use alcohol in moderation and never while driving vehicle.
  3. Buckle Up when you are in the vehicle.
  4. Hydrate and use sun protection.
  5. Grill responsibly
  6. Take caution in the water.

Mission: To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.

Our vision is to be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.

By Chris Cowan

Fiduciary Responsibility

The Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to update you where our monies have been spent through 7/31/2019. We recognize that donors have many choices on where to spend their hard earned dollars and we like to be transparent and give you the results that you expect from your investments.  If you have ideas or thoughts on where you think funds should be spent we welcome all ideas.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation was created in 2004 in order to financially support activities on the trail that are required to keep the trail open.   This is a never ending and important obligation that RTF has undertaken.   Your support is absolutely essential to provide a myriad of services to the trail such as: Helicopter time for rock drops, FOTR support, Educational support with Mid-Trail Staff, various Rubicon U activities and on-going access to the RTF Property.  Without the support of everyone from vendors, sponsors and individuals like yourself, none of that trail support is possible.

We offer this graph to you as an overview, but it is just that, an overview.

We are always happy to provide you with the latest information, so contact us at [email protected] or call us at 888-678-2426.

Mission: To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.
Our vision is to be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.
By Chris Cowan

HAM Radio’s

Do you have your HAM License?

The Rubicon Trail Foundation partnered with Rugged Radios to give each child at Camp Rubicon a hand held radio to use and understand the importance of having communication devices available  when in out of cell service areas.  You never know when you will need to make an emergency call out for help.

The radios were programmed for frequencies that could be used during Camp Rubicon with the hope that each child or family will become interested and get licensed so that they can use while camping and recreating.

What is a HAM Radio?

Ham Radio is the very best way to communicate on the Rubicon and other trails. It is literally a lifesaver!!!  People use ham radio to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phones. It’s fun, social, educational, and can be a lifeline during times of need.

Why is having a HAM Radio license important?
There is little to NO Cell Service one the Rubicon Trail.  HAM Radios are great because you can communicate with people all over the world if licensed and get help if needed in an emergency situation.

Other benefits—learn electronic and radio propagation, learn geography, and enhance personal communication skills.

How to get a HAM Radio License:

You will need a License to Operate A Ham Radio, you can contact any local amateur radio club for more info, or take Advantage of the classes that RTF sponsors. This class is designed to take you from zero to HAM radio operator in no time at all. Its typically held in the Sacramento Valley area, in El Dorado Hills. For more info on classes you can email John Arenz [email protected]    or

If you already have a Ham Radio License here the frequencies used on the Rubicon-

146.805 -.600 PL123.0
The KA6GWY repeater, covers the west slope of El Dorado County and the Sacramento area.

145.350 (repeater transmitter), odd split to 146.205 (repeater receiver), PL123.0 
The Tahoe Basin KA6GWY repeater, linked 24/7 to the 805 ELD     repeater, coverage in the Tahoe Basin.

146.805 simplex, no PL
This is the repeater output frequency of the KA6GWY repeater. Nice to have so that you can talk to  your friends right in front of you, still listen to the repeater, but not tie it up when simplex will work just fine.

444.9875 +5.00 PL156.7 
The Rubicon repeater located near Spider Lake, coverage on all of the Rubicon Trail except east of Barker Meadows OHV trail.

444.9875 +5.00 PL 107.2
Same as RUBI except that when using this PL it links to 805ELD and 805 TAH.

444.9875 simplex, PL107.2 
This is the repeater output frequency of the Spider repeater. Nice to have so that you can talk to your friends right in front of you, still listen to the repeater, but not tie it up when simplex will work just fine.

Note, PL is used because some users decode PL on their handheld radios.


If you do not have a HAM Radio you should consider getting one.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation holds 1 to 2 classes per year to get you your HAM License.  Contact us today!



By Ken Hower

A Day In The Life…of a Poo Truck Driver

By John Arenz

John Arenz and Merlin Scott in the RTF Poo Truck

I guess everyone knows by now that I’m the day to day poo truck driver for RTF. At this point it is also common knowledge that El Dorado County next season will take over this service. We (RTF) couldn’t be happier! When we built the poo truck, we did so as proof of concept. A little history, in 2010, the anti-Rubicon closurists were watching the trail intently. They campaigned the agencies (El Dorado County and the Forest Service), saying they couldn’t spend money putting bathrooms on the trail because they had no way to service them, and of course that they couldn’t spend money building a service truck because there was nothing to service. Chicken and egg, if you will. RTF built the truck and started providing the service to help solve the sanitation problem on the trail because it needed to be done, the same way the county built the  bathrooms…because it needed to be done. Now that RTF has proven it can be done, it’s time for a government agency (the County) to take it over.

So on to the original subject. A typical day for me on the Unimog starts at Spider Lake. I pack a lunch, fill the mog with water and leave as early as I can. It takes me about five hours to go to the far end of Buck Island Lake, suck out the four toilets (about 350 gallons of poo slurry) and return to Spider, pumping the Arnold’s Rock toilet on the way back. From there it’s another two hours to the Ellis vault to dump, and two hours back to Spider. So a nine hour day. The following day, thankfully, is much shorter. It usually takes about 5 hours to do that. On the trail I chat with people on the trail, educate and just try to be friendly.

Sounds simple, and it is, usually. Of course, sometimes things don’t go as well. I’ve popped tires turning a nine hour day into a three day extravaganza trailering a new 250 pound tire and wheel in and changing it. I’ve also run out of gas in the pump and had to beg borrow, and steal fuel, ok mostly beg, from trail users (yeah, I know, dumb). Of course, users create roadblocks too. I HATE wipes. They clog the machine and must be removed using a hook and pliers. Please, please, don’t put wipes in the toilets! I’ve found some interesting stuff in toilets too…many pairs of underwear (men’s and women’s), pajamas, lots of random trash, full bags of trash, and one of my favorites, a block of cheddar cheese. Who does that? All of this stuff has to be removed, bagged, and placed in a leak proof bucket to be taken off the trail and placed in the trash. Yes, that happens in my personal rig.

I’m looking forward to next season!

By Chris Cowan

1st Annual Off the Rocks 4×4 Show & Shine

Save the Date-

Reminder of T-Shirt Contest

1st Annual Off the Rocks 4×4 Show & Shine

FREE to the Public

There will be a taco stand, show and shine with trophies, music, Kids Zone, vendors, and a raffle!

October 12, 2019
Dry Diggings Distillery


5050 Robert J. Mathews Parkway

El Dorado Hills, CA  95762

We will also be having our first ever Kids T-Shirt Idea Design Contest.

We need your help in designing the perfect 4 Wheelin’ or Camping T-Shirt.

Must submit orginal artwork no later than Sept. 22, 2019

Please contact us at 888-678-2426 or

email Amy Wylie at [email protected] 

Mission: To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.
Our vision is to be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.
By Chris Cowan

WAG bags & Spill Kits

The Rubicon Trail Foundation provides

WAG bags and Spill Kits!

One unique thing about the Rubicon Trail is there are pumpable toilets.  However, whenever you camp you should always be prepared and carry the basic neccessities to make your trip enjoyable.  It is always suggested to carry WAG bags and a Spill Kit in your vehicle/backpack as you never know when you will need them.  You would not leave home without clothes, would you?

If you are heading up to the Rubicon Trail you can always contact us to get these items.  We can be reached at 888-678-2426.

Dump A Load On RTF

  • What is a WAG bag kit? Each kit contains an outer zip-close disposal bag, a waste collection bag preloaded with waste treatment powder, toilet paper and a hand sanitizer towellete. The WAG (Waste Alleviation and Gelling) Bag contains enough gelling powder for 3-4 uses. The double bag system is made from a puncture resistant material.
  • To dispose seal it up, pack it out and when home dispose in trash.

What is a Spill Kit? 

  • What is a Spill Kit? This is a kit designed to absorb any spills from fluids of a vehicleEach kit contains zip-close disposal bag,  Bio Response, absorbent pad, and RTF rag.
  • Directions: Absorb as much oil as possible with the absorbent pads included in the spill kit. Apply Bio Response liquid on remaining spill, just walk away, bacteria will biodegrade what is left.
    * Please do not apply to asphalt.
  • First step is to control or stop the leak. Next contain what was spilled by using the absorbant pad and Bio Response.  Place all materials back in the zip-close disposal bag including any soil that was saturated.
  • To dispose on the Rubicon the storage shed on the west end is next to the Kiosk at Loon Lake. On the east end, the shed is located next to the restrooms in the parking lot.

Mission: To enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon trail, while ensuring responsible, motorized, year-round trail access.

Our vision is to be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.

By Chris Cowan

Camp Rubicon Hike

In the past few years we have taken families on a hike from Rubicon Springs to the Stone Cabin during Camp Rubicon. We always share the History of the Rubicon Trail while exploring the great outdoors.  This year quite a few kids found Arrowheads.  It was such a fun hike and we had more participants than ever. Another fun part of the hike is getting to chat with the families and find out why they came on the trip and learning from them.

Rusty Folena lead the hike.

The stone cabin is less than a 1/2 mile from the Rubicon Springs campining area.  There are many things to look for on the way to the cabin.  The cleared meadows were once hay fields and also had trout ponds.    The harvested fish from the ponds were wrapped in the meadow grass to keep fresh for the Hunsucker family to sale.

There are tall fir trees, willow trees and also gooseberries.  When there has been a ton of snow the beavers often gnaw on the trees.  You will also see trees and a stump in particular that were made by the Pileated WoodPeaker.

Rusty showed us where there are a few spots where blast marks from black powder and dynamite was used at some point in time to make room for wagons.  There look like a spider on the Granite.  There is also a spot right before the green gate that was blasted out for the wagons.

By Chris Cowan

Next Generation of Rubicon Trail Users

It is always a highlight for me when I get to work with kids and get their interpretation of why the Rubicon is important to them.  On August 1-4, the Rubicon Trail Foundation had the pleassure to organize the Jeep Jamboree Camp Rubicon.  Colton Folena was one of the lucky participants that got to attend the Jeep Jamboree Camp Rubicon.  Since his dad, Rusty Folena,  Past President of the Rubicon Trail Foundation, was on cook crew we were in Rubicon Springs early.  Jason Warden, was leaving to go rock roll for the participants that were attending the event.  He just happened to ask Colton if he would like to go rock roll with him. Colton was very excited to be asked and go hang out with the guys.  Off he went. On his return, I asked him if he would mind writing me a small paragraph of why he wanted to go rock roll.

Colton stated, “The reason I agreed to be a rock roller was first for the experience and second, I was there for the weekend to do anything the Jeep Jamboree Crew needed me to do.  As long as I knew that I was doing my part to keep the Rubicon open.  Also, to enlighten kids like myself that we will one day have the responsibility to take care of the Rubicon and to educate the next generation to keep it alive.  I wanted to do anything that was needed, that is why I wanted to go rock roll.”

This was a quick response and he needed no assistance coming up with this statement.

This is why we do what we do for the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

Thank you Colton Folena!

By Chris Cowan

Jeep Jamboree Camp Rubicon

On August 3, 2019, the Rubicon Trail Foundation sponsored and organized the Jeep Jamboree Camp Rubicon. This is a special segment of Jeep Jamboree that is held in Rubicon Springs that is just for kids 6 to 17 years of age. Jeep Jamboree Camp Rubicon’s mission is to motivate and encourage the next generation of off road and outdoor enthusiasts where children learn outdoor ethics and stewardship practices. Jeep Jamboree Camp Rubicon aims for children of all backgrounds to enjoy the natural surroundings and learn how to preserve the area for years to come.
This year we had 96 participants, with at least 15% of the children never having been on the Rubicon before. Our ultimate goal was to spark a new pursuit of knowledge of the outdoors. There are a few basic fundamentals in development and each were reached with the activities that we planned. Entrepreneurship- providing a vision, change and creation of the outdoor world; Cooperation; Failure as a necessity; Creativity (thinking in unconventional ways) to take initiative and risks.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation focused on providing the following skills through the following activities:
• Provided basic skills of outdoors
• Critical Thinking
• Troubleshooting skills
• Being a moral and good person

• Provided each participant with an activity booklet that contained the History of the Rubicon Trail, how to get a Ham Radio license, activities, information on Wag bags & Fire Extinguishers

• Backpack filled with snacks, notebook/pen, magnets, stickers, beach towel, and light saber

• Sanitation demonstration with kid volunteers – Providing options
for proper human waste disposal and the importance of it.

• How to use and maintain a Fire Extinguisher

• Hike to Stone Cabin with verbal awareness of snakes, bears etc.
Education on how the Indians used trail to travel, first vehicles on the trail, important dates on trail, kids found Arrowheads

• Provided each child with a Ham Radio programed to allow them to
hear communication of crew and communicate on their own channel with others. Explained
the importance of this commination and understanding of appropriate things to
say. Encouraged families to get licensed for safety on the trail.

• Crawdad Catching competition. Competing by making a plan with a limited amount of time to accomplish winning of smallest crawdad, largest crawdad, and most caught. Some kids had never caught crawdads and the kids worked together to show each other how to do.

• Kids were able to be on their own and work in groups doing all the activities.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation is federally recognized, non-profit organization dedicated to the future health of the Rubicon Trail. The Rubicon Trail Foundation acts as the support for Rubicon work projects, Friends of the Rubicon, and as a liaison with local government organizations. This support can range from getting approval for projects from the appropriate agencies, to feeding the volunteers, to buying the supplies needed to maintain the trail. We also fight the efforts of others to close or restrict use of the Rubicon Trail System. All funds raised help to enhance the future health of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible motorized year-round access. Our vision is to be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.

Our Officers and Directors represent a wide variety of Rubicon Trail users and supporters. These include trail users, land owners, county representatives, manufacturers, and Rubicon event organizers. For more information on getting involved or supporting the Rubicon Trail Foundation please call us at 888-678-2426 or visit our website at


By Ken Hower

15th Annual Cantina For The Con Postponed

Press Release:

15th Annual Cantina For The Con Postponed

It is with heavy hearts we announce that the 15th Annual Cantina For The Con will be postponed until 2020.

After meeting with the Forest Service and addressing their concerns with the construction closure of North Shore campground and the dispersed camping area adjacent to it, RTF has determined that the severely limited parking, camping sites and turn around points near the construction area would greatly affect traffic flowing in and out of our event. The Rubicon Trail and its user’s safety will always be a top priority for the Rubicon Trail Foundation and we feel this year’s event will only add to a difficult situation. We also hope this will free up some much needed space to help offset these closures on one of the trails busiest weekends.

We greatly apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. We know a lot of people look forward to this event each year and we look forward to seeing all of you as well!

Please stay tuned for future upcoming events.

Thank You,
Rubicon Trail Foundation