By Chris Cowan

Rubicon Trail Foundation President Message

I would like to introduce myself to you as the new Rubicon Trail Foundation President.

We are beginning another great year and with that comes many new opportunities.   I am very excited to be leading such an important Foundation, one that I have been a Director/Officer  since 2010.  I look forward to collaborating with each of you, the users and the stakeholders to work towards our mission statement and educate all users.

I was appointed on January 20, 2021 so I am just getting settled, but look forward to hearing from each of you on how to best serve you and our beloved Rubicon Trail.

I have two main goals as of right now for the Foundation: to enhance the future health of the Rubicon through education and to be trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail.

As I take on this new role, I would like to thank David Thomas for his contributions and work on behalf of the Rubicon Trail Foundation. Also, to welcome Laura Blake as our new Secretary.

Due to the COVID pandemic we have been unable to secure a site to have our Black Tie & Boots event at this time.  Trust me, I am devastated.  We are working on planning some great fundraising opportunities, so please stay tuned. 

I look forward to many great opportunities of growing our Foundation and  to spread awareness of the importance of our Foundation to all users.  I am grateful for all of your donations and support.  I invite you to reach out and share your ideas, thoughts, and feedback.  Hopefully, I will see you soon at an upcoming meeting/event or on the trail.

Officers of the Rubicon Trail Foundation

Chris Cowan, President

Ken Hower, Vice President

Jonathan Carlos, Treasurer

Laura Blake, Secretary

Directors of the Rubicon Trail Foundation

Rusty Folena
John Arenz

Dan DeWolf

David Thomas

Matt Warden

JC Jenkins

Mike Gerondakis

Tyler Hovelsrud

Ron Cannon

Diane Hawks

Administrative Assistant

Amy Wylie


Chris Cowan
President, Rubicon Trail Foundation

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

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

By Ken Hower

Laura Blake Elected Secretary

At the January officer election meeting, Laura Blake was elected Secretary of the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

Laura is a relative newcomer to the board, with her election in 2018.  Laura got into the weeds early and was instrumental in the creation of Rubicon U, an off-road education program.

Laura is recently retired from CDF, and is an avid Rubicon user with her family.  Laura is very active on the board and passionate about the future well-being of the Rubicon Trail.

Laura will be the Secretary of the Foundation until 2023.

By Ken Hower

Chris Cowan Elected President

At the January officer election meeting, Chris Cowan was elected President of the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

Chris has been a long-time member of the board of directors.  Originally elected in 2010, she was asked to join the board specifically to replace the vacant Secretary position.  Immediately thrown into business, Chris very quickly had to vote on the purchase of 317 acres from Mark Smith. Chris stated, “I cried. I thought how in the world are we going to pay for this?” But the incredible donors came through at event after event, leading to the final payment made in 2016.

Chris is very visible several times a year, as she has been the chairperson and co-chairperson of Black Tie & Boots for many years.  In addition, she has run Kids Club at Jeep Jamboree and Wine Tasting at Jeepers Jamboree.

Chris will be the President of the Foundation until 2023.

By Chris Cowan

Meet Tyler Hovelsrud

We have introduced you to our newest Board members but now we would like you to know about all our other board members.  Tyler joined our board in 2018.

Tyler’s interest with the Rubicon Trail started in the early 2000s when he attended a TLCA Rubithon event, it was his first trip to the Rubicon. He had a great time and instantly felt a deep connection to the area. Since then, he has been to the Rubicon Trail every year at least once, while most years he makes it down two or three times.

In 2007 he and his wife jokingly mentioned that we should get married at Rubicon Springs. It was originally laughed it off as a logistical nightmare, but the next day they decided they were up to the challenge. In July 2008 they hauled 19 friends and family members along with their dog from Loon to Rubicon Springs for their wedding. It was an epic trip; they had some incredible memories. In addition, we were able to give many guests their first Rubicon Trail experience.

By Chris Cowan

Meet Ron Cannon

Updated Bio-

Ron was born and raised in Placerville. He graduated from El Dorado High School in 1985. In 1991, married his first love “Tami” after dating for 5 years. He attended the police academy in 1995, served with the Placerville Police Department for 24 years, and retired in September 2020. Ron was also a volunteer firefighter for Diamond Springs/ El Dorado Fire for 10 years where he was a member of the volunteer firefighters association. He served as the President of the Union Mine Junior Rattlers youth football and cheer and served as the inaugural president for the merger of Hangtown and Timber Little League in 2009. He has always considered himself a public servant.

Ron became interested in off-roading relatively recently. His love for the Jeep developed after renting two of the JKU’s while in Hawaii on vacation in 2012. Upon return he found himself regularly having coffee with members of Jeepers Jamboree spending hours listening to jeeping stories (sorting through the BS), watching jeeping videos, and falling in love with the idea of owning a Jeep. In 2015 he purchased a used 2013 JKUR with the intent of building it for the 2016 Jeepers Jamboree. He built it with a basic lift, bead lock wheels, and all the steel he could find to protect it! The 2016 Jeepers Jamboree was “go big or go home” introduction to rock crawling that he and his wife both loved. Afterward he began volunteering at Jeepers Jamboree and he joined the Hangtown Crawlers. His newest goal is to Jeep the entire country, but the Rubicon Trail is his first love.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation became a source of information, so he began attending meetings, donating to Black Tie & Boots, volunteering at Cantina, and donating directly to RTF. Ron’s past experience serving the community makes him very familiar with the demands of organizational service. Being recently retired, Ron can now dedicate time to serve the greater good of the Rubicon Trail. He believes in private property rights and year round access to public lands with reasonable limitations for responsible conservation. Service to that end is his honor.

By Chris Cowan

Meet Diane Hawks

Diane was born and raised in the Bay Area and has always had an interest in vehicles since her family owns an automotive repair shop in San Francisco.  Diane used to build and show muscle cars in Northern California.  Her 1969 El Camino won a trophy at the Oakland Roadster show and her 1968 SS Chevelle won the best burnout contests at the Western Street Machine Association or WSMA events.  Her early off-roading experiences were with her 1973 F-250 and her 1993 Toyota pickup, where she would frequent Hollister Hills SVRA and Frank Raines OHV Park.  She also enjoyed riding her Yamaha Banshee with friends at Pismo Dunes.
Diane’s first trip to the Rubicon Trail goes back to 1995 with her 1971 CJ5 which had manual steering and manual brakes.  That trip was all it took for her to become addicted to the Rubicon Trail and upgrades for her Jeeps to follow.
In 2004, Diane and Scott bought horse property in Somerset where they raise Arabian horses.
Diane was a volunteer with the El Dorado County Search and Rescue OHV Team for 11 years. She has also done events on the Rubicon Trail such as organized trail staff for the Hi-Lander’s Annual Poker Run, driven female Veterans for Wheelers for the Wounded, attended Rubicon Scramble, Jeep Jamboree, Cantina on the Con,  driven for several OHMVR tours, and attended other various trips.
Diane has been the VP of the Hi-Lander’s 4wd Club for four years helping with conservation and maintenance work parties on the Barrett Lake Jeep Trail and Southfork Campground.  She also attends meetings and trail runs with other 4wd clubs, and is the admin of three Facebook off-road groups building relationships within the off-road community.
Diane brings many years of off-roading experience and looks forward to being a part of the Rubicon Trail Foundation team.
Current trail Jeeps:  2015 JKU Rubicon, 2003 TJ Rubicon, 1981 CJ8 Scrambler
By Chris Cowan

Merry Christmas!

The Officers and Directors of the Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas! 

Please be safe in heading up to the Rubicon and make sure to pack plenty of layers, let your loved ones know where you are going and when you should return, bring plenty of food and supplies in case of delays and use your best judgement when traveling in snow and on the trail.

Be Prepared

Be Prepared

Snow Wheelin’

Snow Wheelin’

Best wishes from your friends at the Rubicon Trail Foundation.

By Chris Cowan

Welcome our New Directors’

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020 the Rubicon Trail Foundation had a quick monthly meeting to vote in some new and old Directors.  It is our pleasure to announce that we added two new faces to the board.  Many people may know them already but we want everyone to know who the board is.

Please help us in welcoming Diane Hawks and Ron Cannon to the board.  We will be showcasing our board members over the next few weeks so stay tuned for more info on these new Director’s.

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.

Existing Board:


President: David Thomas: Toys on the Rocks, FOTR, Placerville, CA

Vice President: Ken Hower: FOTR, VLLS, Rubicon Trail Patrol, ATV guy, Auburn, CA

Treasurer:  Jonathan Carlos: 4×4 In Motion Club, Rubicon enthusiast, Pollock Pines, CA

Secretary: Chris Cowan: Rubicon enthusiast, non-profit experience, Plymouth, CA


John Arenz: Past President, Jeepers Jamboree, FOTR, FOE, VLLS grad etc., Pollock Pines, CA

Rusty Folena: charter RTF member, past President, VLLS grad, FOTR, Adopt-A-Trail Participant, Plymouth, CA

Dan DeWolf, Jeepers Jamboree ex-president, Rubicon enthusiast, Jeepers Jamboree Cook Crew, Placerville, CA

Matt Warden, Jeepers Jamboree Cook Crew, Adopt-A-Trail Participant, Rubicon enthusiast, Placerville, CA

JC Jenkins, Volunteer at the Kiosk, Rubicon enthusiast, Shingle Springs, CA

Mike Gerondakis, Jeepers Jamboree Board, Rubicon enthusiast, Pollock Pines, CA

Laura Blake, Jeepers Jamboree, , Placerville, CA

Tyler Hovelsrud, Rubicon enthusiast, Oregon

For more information on getting involved or supporting the Rubicon Trail Foundation please call us at 888-678-2426 or visit our website at  Our meetings are held the 3rd Wednesday of each month with the exception of Dec. Location to be determined.