By Ken Hower

Rubicon Trail Foundation Zoom Meeting on Rubicon

On February 6, 2023, the Rubicon Trail Foundation had an open Zoom meeting to educate users on the status of the Rubicon Trail. The key part of the presentation was the recording of Ed Knapp, El Dorado County Counsel explaining in 2013 why the Rubicon Trail Proper can not be closed by the County. This hour long recording gives anyone the opportunity to watch that wasn’t able to attend in person.

By Ken Hower

New GRMS Repeater in 2022!

GMRS radio communication has been gaining ground for years for vehicle to vehicle communications when wheeling. As the benefits of GMRS vs CB Radio has become clearer, organizations like Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) have been switching to GMRS. If you weren’t familiar with FMCA, they are currently the largest 4-Wheel drive club in the United States.

In 2007, Dennis Mayer from Auburn Jeep Club was on-site during a roll-over where someone was seriously injured. Given the location on the trail, getting to cell service was hours away, Dennis felt helpless without access to Ham radio to call for help. In 2009, RTF’s first fully funded project was building a Ham Radio repeater structure at Spider Lake which linked to the powerful “805” repeater.  In addition, RTF began teaching Ham Radio classes which at this point near 800 users have been licensed. This improvement to radio communications on the trail would save many lives and misery, making fast medical helicopter pick up possible.

Ham Repeater structure

However, most of the times users simply need to call a friend that is on trail within the Rubicon Trail. So in 2022, the RTF Board voted to add a GMRS repeater to the Ham Radio which would enhance the ability for more users to have quality in-trail radio communications.  The Auburn Jeep Club donated $2,500 to make this happen and this summer the new GMRS repeater will be installed.

Please visit our Trail Communications page to learn more about the configuration, ie: Channels and frequency depending on your radio.

By Chris Cowan

Be Fire Safe, Recreate Responsibly – A Busy Recreation Season is Expected.

U.S. Forest Service
Eldorado National Forest
100 Forni Road
Placerville, CA 95667
News Release
For Immediate Release
May 24, 2021
Media Contact: Kristi Schroeder, 530-305-6864
Be Fire Safe, Recreate Responsibly – A Busy Recreation
Season is Expected.
PLACERVILLE, Calif. – Memorial Weekend kicks off the busy summer recreation season for the Eldorado National Forest. Crews have been busy getting recreation sites prepared for the public to enjoy. Not all facilities are typically open by Memorial Day depending on their elevation, winter damage, and staffing availability. It takes a tremendous amount of work to ensure that the facility is safe and ready to open to the public. Hazard tree inspections and removal, extensive cleanup of the general area, repairs caused by winter damage, signs installed, vault toilets pumped, repairs made to several waterline breaks and general water system routine maintenance must all be completed before the opening of the facility.
Visitors are reminded to Recreate Responsibly by planning ahead and checking the status of their favorite campgrounds. The mountain environment is very dynamic so take time to properly prepare before you arrive. Here are a few things to “Know Before You Go”:
  • WEATHER: Check the weather forecast. Thunderstorms may occur throughout the summer. Visitors need to exercise caution as they enjoy the outdoors. Rivers and streams are running swift and cold due to melting snow which can result in suddenly hazardous conditions.
  • STATUS: Check the forest website for the current condition of our roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities at Some facilities, roads, or trails are may still be closed due to snow, , winter damage, or planned renovations.
  • CAMPFIRES: Obtain a campfire permit if you are not camping in a developed campground and check for fire restrictions which may affect your camping experience. California Campfire permits are available free of charge online at Forest conditions are unusually dry making fire starts very likely. Please make sure your campfire is drowned out when you leave and go the extra mile and check the surrounding campsites for abandoned campfires.
  • OFFICES: Eldorado National Forest offices are still in virtual status due to COVID19. Call ahead for information or check our website at To stay updated on forest related information visitors can also follow us on Twitter at and “Like” us on Facebook at Our virtual offices are staffed to provide visitor information from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday:
  • Forest Supervisor’s Office – 530-303-2412
  • Georgetown Ranger District – 530-334-6477
  • Placerville/Pacific Ranger District – 916-500-4712
  • Amador Ranger District – 209-259-3774
  • ACCESS: The forest experienced significant blow down of hundreds of trees this winter; blocking roads, trails, and causing damage to some facilities. Crews and volunteers have been working hard to open roads and trails before Memorial Weekend. The Mormon Emigrant Trail (Iron Mountain Road) should open in the next few days. Crews are still working on the Silver Fork Road and surrounding areas. The forest website will be updated as conditions change. Visitors should use caution when recreating in the forest. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) are available free of charge) to download from our forest website, available on AVENZA, or from any of our Ranger Stations (once they are open for in person service.
  • FEES/ RESERVATIONS: Reservations for many of our campgrounds and overnight Desolation Wilderness camping can be made at Dru Barner, Northshore and Wench Creek Campgrounds now have sites available on the Reservation system. Some concession operated sites have had fee changes to level fees across the forest and align with operating cost. In general, Day Use fees are $10, campsites with water are $28 for a single-family site per night, and a standard site without water is now $25 for a single-family site per night. Group sites (planned to open as early as June 15th) have fees that are varied and based on the capacity, location and amenities available.
Crystal Basin / Icehouse Road Area
Many of facilities in this area are at higher elevation and are not planned to open until June or early July (Loon and Wrights Lakes).
  • Open: Ice House Campground, Boatramp and Day Use Areas, Lyons Creek Trailhead, Wench Creek, Northwind, Strawberry, Azalea Cove, Jones Fork, Lone Rock Campgrounds, and Sunset Campground and Boatramp.
  • Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend : Fashoda Tent Campground and Day Use area, Wolf Creek Campground, Westpoint Boatramp, Airport Flat Campground, and Gerle Creek Campground and Day Use areas.
  • Crystal Information Station is planned to open Memorial Weekend for limited services.
  • Most Group Campgrounds open June 15.
  • Closures for 2021 season: Yellowjacket Campground and Boatramp, Camino Cove Campground, Westpoint Campground, Wolf Creek Group Campgrounds, and Loon Lake Chalet are closed all season for facility renovations or to accommodate the extension of the Union Valley Bike Trail. Van Vleck Bunkhouse and Robbs Hut are closed.
  • Closures after Labor Day: Westpoint Boatramp, Sunset Boatramp, and Wolf Creek Campground will close for renovations or to accommodate the extension of the Union Valley Bike Trail.
Georgetown/ Hell Hole Area
  • Open:  All day use areas. Stumpy Meadows Campground, Hell Hole Boatramp, and the Long Canyon camping area. Dru Barner Campground is open for the summer but is expected to be completely full due to an equestrian recreation event from May 27 through May 31. There will be no campsites available for anyone not participating in the event.
  • Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend:  Big Meadows Campground will open without drinking water.
  • Group Campgrounds open June 15.
  • Closures for 2021 season: Dru Barner Campground and Day Use Area will experience a partial closure this season for renovations.  Upper Hell Hole Campground is closed indefinitely due to a large amount of blowdown trees impacting the site.
Highway 50 South Area
  • Open: Most day use areas including Pyramid, Mt. Ralston, Sayles/Brian Meadow, Pony Express, Fleming, Cedar Park, and Elkins Trailheads. Sand Flat Campground, Lovers Leap Campground and Day Use area, and Gray Rock Camping Area .
  • Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend: Bridal Veil Picnic Area, China Flat Campground, Silver Fork Campground,
  • Caples Equestrian Trailhead has many downed trees and while the Caples Creek Trailhead is accessible the trails haves a large number of downed trees.
  • Group Campgrounds open June 15.
  • Closed for 2021 season: Sly Guard Station and Harvey West Cabin.
Highway 88 / Salt Springs/ Carson Pass
Many of facilities in this area are at higher elevation and are not planned to open until June or early July (Kirkwood, Caples, Martin Meadows, and Woods Lake).
  • Open:  Pipi Campground and Day Use Area, Meiss and Carson Pass Trailheads, Gold Note Trailheads, Mokelumne Campground, , Sugar Pine Point Campground, South Shore Campground, Pardoes Point Campground and Day Use area.
  • Planned to Open by Memorial Weekend: Middle Fork Cosumnes Campground, Silver Lake East Campground, Salt Springs Trailhead, and White Azalea Campground.
  • Group Campgrounds open June 15.
  • Carson Pass Information Station opens Saturday, May 29 and Mokelumne Wilderness overnight permits will be issued through the Station on a first-come, first served basis.
The U.S.D.A Forest Service is an equal opportunity employer. The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.
By Chris Cowan


Hello everyone,

Here are a few updates from our meeting last night.

  • May 22, 2021 from 8-2pm Toys on the Rocks Swap Meet
  • Some of the guys from @naxja_sierra_chapter (the North American XJ Association) joined us at our meeting last night to present a $4000 check, a huge donation for the good of the trail! These folks have been consistent supporters on and off the trail, joining work parties and donating tools, their time, and cash. Thank you!!!
  • Our 1st Annual Drive Through Dinner made $3600.00.  It was so good to see everyone and also some new faces.  The Tri -Tip was AMAZING!  A special thanks to our volunteers-           Daryl Warden, Christina Renee Barr & Scott Carey.  Also to Placerville Pizza Factory.
  • We are pleased to announce that we will be awarding two outstanding individuals each a $500 scholarship this year- Chelsea Mullens & Luke Gross
  • If you are on the trail look out for our mid-trail staff starting in June.  They have some new educational materials to hand out and can always provide you with latest trail information.
  • We are partnering up with Dry Diggins Distillery again this year to do the 2nd Annual Show & Shine- mark your calendars for October 9, 2021, more details coming soon
  • Save the Dates: Sept.4th-5th for Cantina for the Con at Robb’s Resort- June 4th for Vendor Day.  If you would like to donate a raffle prize, be a volunteer, etc.  please reach out to us at [email protected].
    I am grateful for your continued support and donations.  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.


    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 Chris Cowan


Hello Everyone,

I would like to provide you with an update as to the work we are doing behind the scenes.

  • May 13th for a Tri-Tip Drive Thru Dinner Fundraiser 

All Dinners must be prepurchased

Pick up: El Dorado County Fairgrounds 4:00pm – 7:00pm 

100 Placerville Dr – Placerville, CA 95667

Enter thru Blue Gate (by Raley’s) Follow signs to Marshall Building Parking Lot – Exit thru Yellow Gate (to Fair Ln)

Questions call 1-888-6RUBICON

Be sure to enter the $25.00 drawing for a custom-made JEEP BBQ Fire Pit

  • Save the Dates: Sept.4th-5th for Cantina for the Con at Robb’s Resort
  • Rubicon Trail Foundation $500 Student Scholarship for High School Seniors all over the United States deadline extension for this year only to           May 15, 2021.  Get your applications in.
  • Working with El Dorado County OHV Division to place signs up on the Rubicon during the winter months. The last few years we have had people go up unprepared and unaware of how fast conditions change. They then find themselves in a need to be rescued.  Also, working with Peter Kraatz of Placer County to resolve snow berm issues.
  • Mid Trail Staff will have calendars, stickers, wag bags & Spill Kits to provide to users of the trail.
  • May 22, 2021  from 8-2pm Toys on the Rocks Swap Meet

  • Save the Dates: TENTATIVE DATE October 9th Dry Diggins Show & Shine Fundraiser

I am grateful for your continued support and donations.  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.


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 Chris Cowan

El Dorado County Rubicon Oversight Committee Meeting Info.

Zoom meeting February 10, 2021, 6:30 p.m.

Meeting Purpose:  For agencies to provide an update to the user community of issues and topics related to the Rubicon Trail and to get public input on grant applications for 2021. 


Agencies providing Updates:

  •         California State Parks Off Highway Motor Vehicle Division
  • Callan from State Parks introduced the new Deputy Director, Sarah
  • Sarah announced the 50th Anniversary of OHV and looking forward to meeting with everyone
  • Jenn discussed grant cycle- March 1st Applications Due, May 2-3 Public Comment, June 7th Final Applications Due, Sept. 2nd Post Awardees


  •         El Dorado County
  • Vickie provided a report that there was an increased usage in 2020 on Trail.
  • Weekly pumping was done on the restrooms
  • Helicopter project put 829,400 lbs rock on trail
  • Gabions were placed in some locations
  • Justin has moved out of state and Prescott will be taking his place
  • Adopt-A-Trail- areas not adopted – Loon Lake Intertie #1, Ellis Creek, walker Rock, Buck Island- if interested contact Vickie
  • Project List- looking for Kiosk volunteer and someone to do Buck Island Rest Stop, & special events
  • Other project to use excavator – Walker Hill Wall to the right of hillside due to erosion.  Improvement for Axle Rock, finish climb before Bowl 
  • Education Campaign is FIRE
  • Grants Applying for- Group Op (rock at Soup Bowl), education, maintenance, restoration & planning
  • Finish the following projects- Pumpkin Patch, Property Line, saw Tooth & Scout Hole
  • Jeep Corporation working with Electrify America who is working with County on charging stations- there are no locations as of yet


El Dorado County Sheriff’s -Michael Seligsohn will be in charge of patrolling the trail.  Background in boats but looking forward to Rubicon.

Placerville County Sheriff’s- Chris in charge of OHV on trail – looking forward to collaboration and being on trail more.

  • Bob asked if they are sharing patrol and -Michael Seligsohn said they are each in charge of their own counties.  Bob wants to work with each of them on JJ.  Chris mentioned he would love to collaborate and be on trail more.
  • Tim Peterson will be returning as well as Steve, Craig & Eddie for El Dorado County side.
  •         Placer County
  • Peter introduced himself and talked about snow removal and making users and community happier.  John Arenz commented on the great job with snow removal. 
  • John Arenz and Del Albright mentioned a desire for Placer County to be more involved on trail. Peter mentioned that there is not the political will to do so. 


  •         Tahoe National Forest
  • Joe Chavez talked about work done at mud hole
  • Tim Green asked if this was a temporary work around or permanent as the trail holds history.  Joe said temporary.  Tim mentioned that if the trail site moved it raises concern of losing historical parts of the trail.
  • Joe mentioned that they will not have big grant funds available this year but has 98,000 lbs of rock to fill from Barker Pass and the work they started in 2020.  Will need volunteers to spread rock.


  •         Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
  • Mike mentioned that they are paving the staging area.  John asked if they were putting lines and he said no.  John agreed 
  • Bathroom pumping will be done this year
  • Looking for volunteer for bathrooms


  •         El Dorado National Forest
  • Karl mentioned that they are putting more dumpsters towards Loon Lake side 
  • Not sure if they will have restrictions around campgrounds or not.


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.