By Chris Cowan

COVID-19 affecting OHV users

COVID-19 affecting OHV users

Jeff Blewett, Cal4Wheel Natural Resources Consultant

SHELTER IN PLACE ORDER

Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 19 ordered California’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home, making it the first state to impose that strict mandate on all residents to counteract a looming surge of new infections.
The order takes effect immediately and remains in place “until further notice.” Californians are not allowed to leave their homes except for essential purposes. The mandatory order allows Californians to continue to visit gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, banks and laundromats.
People can leave their homes to care for a relative, a friend, seek healthcare services or commute to jobs deemed essential.
This hits all of us hard, but for our community it seems worse. We are very independent individuals who enjoy the wide-open spaces that our Jeeps, Toyota’s, dirt bikes and UTV’s get us to. Most of us live to off-road; we are always planning the next trip, and to be stuck indoors for how ever long this “shelter in place” order lasts may just drive us crazy.
If you just can’t take it anymore and have to get out and enjoy the great outdoors please do your part by following the CDC guidelines by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.
Here are some COVID-19 (coronavirus) OHV related updates.

CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS DEPARTMENT

State parks announced today the temporary closure of all campgrounds in the state park system (including all SVRA’s) to support state and local efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails and beaches will remain open. Restrooms also remain open, and visitors are advised to take soap for hand washing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water is not available.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

The Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt directed the National Park Service to temporarily suspend the collection of all park entrance fees until further notice.
Other states and municipalities have implemented similar policies waiving fees to parks in an effort to support social distancing. At a majority of park locations, outdoor spaces remain open to the public.

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

Death Valley NP will be implementing new guidelines issued from the White House, CDC, and local and state authorities to promote social distancing.
As of March 18, 2020, all visitor centers are closed, ranger led programs have been cancelled, and the following campgrounds are closed: Emigrant, Mesquite Springs, Texas Springs, Furnace Creek, Sunset and Stovepipe Wells.
They have made the health and safety of the visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Death Valley National Park their number one priority. The National Park Service is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the situation and will update us when things change.

UNCLE TOM’S CABIN

Uncle Tom’s cabin is a popular wintertime destination up near Georgetown on the road to the Rubicon Trail. They have decided to temporarily close the bar in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 virus. Please respect the wishes of the property owner and stay off the Uncle Tom’s Cabin property.
Here is the press release that they issued:
“There is nothing we care about more than the safety and well-being of our customers and our community of family and friends. With the effects of the outbreak being felt more each day, our primary concern and area of focus is the health and safety of our communities.
In these uncertain times, we must all do our best to help ease the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Following recommendations from local authorities on limiting public gatherings we will be CLOSED.

We apologize and for the first time in 156 years under these conditions, feel this is the best course of action for the safety and well-being of our caretakers and customers.”

STANISLAUS COUNTY

Both Frank Raines and LaGrange OHV areas have been temporarily closed by Stanislaus County to effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 virus.

FRIENDS OF THE RUBICON ANNUAL MEETING

The meeting scheduled for April 4 has been temporarily cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date.
Cal4 will do its best to keep you updated on all things OHV during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
Please remember, if you do decide to go out into the world and enjoy your favorite OHV area or trail , do your part to maintain social distancing, not only does this protect you, but it also protects your family and friends from exposure to the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The Rubicon Trail Board of Directors hopes you are able to get out and enjoy nature and the things that you love by staying healthy.  Be safe and remember to always “Buckle Up”.

By Ken Hower

Visiting RTF Property in Winter

As the colors turn on the leaves, that first big snow storm is potentially just around the corner. Travel on the Rubicon during this time of year can become a life or death struggle faster than most people are aware.

Visiting the RTF Property after the Little Rubicon Crossing and heading down to FOTR camp requires going down Trash Can Hill.  TCH is fairly steep, and in the best of conditions, can be a struggle.  While the RTF Property is open to the public 365/24/7, in winter conditions be extra vigilant.

  • Check the weather conditions on Thursday before your planned departure.  Check our Condition Page for current and potential weather.
  • Read our vehicle preparation page. This time of year you have to be highly self-sufficient due to reduced traffic.
  • Always have enough food and water to make it several days beyond your expected departure.
  • Pack warm clothing beyond what you think you’ll need.  Expect the unexpected.
  • Know where the Trash Can Hill winch plate is before going down.

If you follow these basic tips, you can keep your trip from turning into a life or death struggle.

By Chris Cowan

Pack It In/Pack It Out

There has been lots of work down on the Rubicon Trail to make it the sanctuary that it is.   The County, the Rubicon Trail Foundation Board and many volunteers have been out there spreading the word of Pack It In/Pack It Out.

What does Pack It In/Pack It Out mean?  This common saying is a simple yet effective way to get visitors to take their trash home with them. There is no reason why people cannot carry out of the backcountry the extra food packaging materials, and human waste that they carried in with them in the first place.

Trash and litter ranks high as a problem in the minds of many visitors.

Trash and litter are human impacts that can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area.

We must all be mindful of even the smallest effects we have on land.  That is why the Rubicon Trail Foundation advocates Pack It In/Pack It Out.  We must all be good Stewards to the Rubicon Trail.

If you need WAG Bags please contact us at 888-678-2426 or info@rubicontrailfoundation.org.

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

Vision: To be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.

By Chris Cowan

Education at Kiosk

Play is the highest form of research.-Albert Einstein

This past weekend a few of our board members went to the Rubicon Trail and provided some education about the trail, gave out WAG Bags & Spill Kits, and had fun meeting and greeting users of the Rubicon Trail.

One of the main goals of the foundation is to provide education and help answer any questions about the trail.  We all met so many new wheelers who had never been before, to also seeing old faces who had to be on the trail even though Cantina for the Con was not happening.

We taught a whole group of brand new trail users all about WAG Bags, locations on the trail and then also some on how to use a Spill Kit.

It was great to see families having family time and unplugging from devices that are all too time consuming-

Hopefully everyone had a safe and fun Labor Day!

If you are interested in volunteering and making a difference on the Rubicon Trail please contact us at 888-678-2426 or email us at info@rubicontrilfoundation.org.

All kit contents were bought by the Rubicon Trail Foundation and our generous donors.

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

Vision:  To be the trusted stewards of the Rubicon Trail, ensuring sustainability for the experience of the users.

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 Ken Hower

Steve Morris – A True Rubicon Legend


It is with sadness that we give tribute to one of the true Rubicon Legends, Steve Morris. On Saturday, July 27, 2019 at the 67th Jeepers Jamboree in Rubicon Springs, Steve passed on. Steve was a true pioneer of the Rubicon Trail, participating at the beginning of the Jeepers Jamboree with Mark Smith, a partial owner of Rubicon Springs, the first President of Cal4Wheel, a 2019 inductee of the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, Rubicon Trail Foundation Rock Award winner and the name behind Morris Rock on Cadillac Hill. Steve had dedicated his life to spreading the message on the beauty of Rubicon Springs and through ownership, making sure the Rubicon Springs is available to everyone. Steve couldn’t have written a better life script passing away at Rubicon Springs after being with his family and so many friends during the event he loved so much. He will be missed and remembered by so many for generations to come. The Rubicon Trail Foundation sends it’s sympathies to Steve’s family.