By Chris Cowan

Why is having a HAM Radio license important?

What happens if you break down on the trail?

My husband(family) left and has not returned home yet?

The Rubicon Trail Foundation fields many questions about the Rubicon Trail each day especially during the summer & winter months.  This year we have noticed many more coming in with people from all over heading to the Rubicon as a lot of vacation venues are closed or cancelled due to the pandemic.

There is little to NO Cell Service on 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.  It is very important to pack appropriately (food and clothes/blankets) and always tell people where you are going and when you will return.

Recently RTF bought a new Daniels UHF transmitter and receiver for the ham repeater.  This $5000 commercial quality repeater will make the ham repeater very reliable for years into the future.  Frequent users of the system are aware that the radio team (Frank Yost, Ray Pledger, and John Arenz) work on the system consistently through the season.  This new repeater will be super sensitive with great audio, and will not need the constant tweaking and repair the current system does.  Best of all, it will continue to be reliable when no one is around to fix it!

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.  Due to COVID, we aren’t anticipating a class until 2021. John.Arenz@RubiconTrailFoundation.org    or http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class

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.

By Chris Cowan

Rattlesnakes on the Rubicon

The Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to remind you that there have been siting’s of rattlesnakes on the Rubicon.  Pleae be aware of your surroundings.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind/do:

  • Watch where you place your hands and feet when removing debris. Consider wearing heavy gloves, especially when working outdoors and dealing with brush, leaves, or piles of lumber. Consider wearing boots at least 10 inches high especially if working near water areas where snakes may be present.
  • Remember, snakes often bite only when threatened. If you see a snake, step back and allow it to proceed.
  • If bitten, call 911 immediately! Pay attention to the color of the snake and the shape of the snake’s head to help with treatment. Have someone take a photo, if possible.
  • Keep bite victims calm and reduce movement to slow the possible spread of venom. Lay the victim down so the bite is below the level of the heart. Cover the bite wound with a clean, dry dressing. NEVER cut the wound or attempt to suck out the venom.

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 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 www.rubicontrail.org.
By Chris Cowan

Temporary Bypass Work Completed in a Collaborative Effort

For a several years the mudhole on the Tahoe side has been a real problem.  Many rigs have gotten stuck and taken damage from the deep water.  Last year          El Dorado County made an effort to fill and bridge the hole with good success, but this year it is back.

Because of legal changes on the Placer County portion of the trail, the Tahoe National Forest (TNF) is much more involved this year and Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF) with other agencies have been able to get some emergency work done.

A couple of weeks ago Joe Chavez of the TNF went up and repaired a water bar, preventing a perennial stream from dumping water onto the trail.

Yesterday an additional temporary fix occurred…Joe asked for a small volunteer force and he and a couple of RTF directors were able to block the deep and muddy portion of the trail by winching downed trees and bypass rigs to one side of it.  

The temporary bypass keeps rigs from getting stuck and being damaged, prevents off trail travel, and it keeps the trail from being damaged further, but most importantly it prevents sediment from making its way into the water.

A more permanent fix is in the works for the fall.

Not the biggest project ever, actually pretty small, but we are excited about the opportunity to make a difference and pleased with the partnership with the Tahoe National Forest.  Thanks Joe!

 

By Chris Cowan

Be Prepared

This weekend the weather will be cooling off after a HOT week. Make sure that when you pack you bring plenty of clothing layers, tarps, sunscreen, shovels, enough food and then some extra in case of delays, always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return and be SAFE!

Since the temperatures will change this weekend always be aware of fire restrictions.  Start by getting a campfire permit from any CAL FIRE, U.S. Forest Service, or BLM station or office. Your campfire permit is valid from the date issued until the end of the calendar year. Permits are required to have campfire or portable gas stoves on public lands. Check to ensure there aren’t any local fire restrictions in the area. During periods of high fire danger, campfires may be restricted. Also, keep a shovel and bucket of water nearby at all times.

  • Choose a safe location
  • Clear a minimum 10feet around fire
  • Extinguish your fire with the “drown, stir and feel” method

This was just posted on fire restrictions:

rtfblog-firerestrictions5-29-20

By Ken Hower

Cadillac Hill Rock Flight Success

In 2018, Vickie Sanders at El Dorado County began laying the seeds with Placer County to assume control over the maintenance of the Rubicon Trail from Loon Lake through to Lake Tahoe. The Rubicon Trail has never been a high priority for Placer County, so El Dorado County began the process to get an MOU (Memorandum of Understand or Formal written agreement) in order to take control.  In 2019, with the MOU secure, Vickie began planning a very important project on Cadillac Hill.  At the very popular Steve Morris history of the Rubicon speech at Jeepers Jamboree, Steve stated that in his opinion, the road base at Cadillac Hill was 10 feet lower in some areas from his first visit.  This erosion over the years lowering sections of the hillside needed to be addressed. However, the amount of natural rock around Cadillac Hill had been used in previous projects.  It was clear that a helicopter would be required to fly rock available at the Gerle Addit, an ENF facility (Loon Lake, spillway, and tunnel rock from the ’50s) to Cadillac Hill.  Vickie secured a grant from the OHV Fund to hire the Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane from Siller, but the grant required matching funds.  In early 2020, the Rubicon Trail Foundation voted to provide the $32,000 of matching funds required to execute the grant.  The project was on!

In April, when the weather on the trail became more clear, Siller was able to confirm availability for the weekend of May 15-17.  However, any project like this requires manpower and Jeepers Jamboree, with years of experience doing work on Cadillac Hill, stepped up to provide the crew required to complete the work.  Rubicon Trail Foundation provided support by feeding the volunteers, in addition to the previously approved matching funds.

On May 15, the rock began being flown to Cadillac.  There were 3 RTF directors, 3 JJ directors, and 5 JJ volunteers for a total of 10 people on site for rock delivery. Rock was laid down on cyclone fence and the fence was pulled over and secured with hog rings.  More rock was placed over that blanket of rock, for final securing.

Final work below V Rock

In total, 264,000 lbs of rock was flown to Cadillac Hill and a couple other locations. Overall the project was a major success and a great example of El Dorado County, State OHV Fund, Rubicon Trail Foundation donors, and trail volunteers to ensure an important project on the trail is completed.

By Chris Cowan

Reminder: This Weekend Rubicon Trail Closure May 15-17, 2020 by El Dorado County Parks Division

County Update from Vickie Sassman Sanders

I hate to do this but, I need to close the trail on May 15th-17th. We need to get the helicopter project done. With the snow and pandemic it has been a challenge. In previous years we have been able to do these project during the week but this has been a strange years as we all know.
Due to schedules we are forced to do this on the weekend.
The main focus is Cadillac Hill building gabions as we all know it is always needing work and is vital to the trail.
We will also be working at hairpin to rebuild the rock wall. There are other locations on both sides where we will be working.
There are so many parts and pieces to a project like this, but in 5 days we can do it all and the trail will be yours for the rest of the season.
Our goal has been to complete it before Memorial Day Weekend.
I have attached the notice to agencies so that you all have the same information.
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.