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Position Statement by Rubicon Trail Foundation

The Rubicon Trail Foundation supports El Dorado County's current management procedures for addressing vehicle fluid spills on County roads. The Rubicon Trail Foundation believes improperly disposed of human waste on the Rubicon is best corrected by a multilevel approach that includes public education, portable sanitation solutions and permanent toilet installations, where practical.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation supports a County-developed Operations and Maintenance plan for maintaining the Rubicon Trail based on the March 2009 California Geological Survey assessment and its updates. This O&M plan should include a list of prioritized projects.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation supports efforts to define the boundaries of the Rubicon Trail. A well-defined trail, maps and signage are important steps in that direction.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation encourages the establishment of reasonable and practical operating procedures for training of volunteer groups and others to install and maintain trail drainage structures, stream crossings and new trail segments.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation supports educational programs to inform Rubicon Trail users of trail rules and etiquette.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation supports requiring every Rubicon Trail user to carry portable human waste disposal devices and requiring every motorized user to carry oil spill kits.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation was formed in 2004. We are a federally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the future health of the Rubicon Trail and our mission is to enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible motorized year-round trail access. The Foundation works with individuals, clubs, organizations, and agencies to maintain and manage the trail. Our Officers and Directors represent a wide variety of Rubicon Trail OHV users, land owners, county representatives, manufacturers, and event organizers.

If you would like to help with our efforts, you may send your tax deductible donations to:

Rubicon Trail Foundation PO Box 2188 Placerville, CA  95667

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Water Board revises Cleanup Order to Sustain OHV Recreation

 The revised CAO is a much less prescriptive order that calls for general consideration and planning but does not mandate specific actions, instead charging the County and the National Forest with working together to meet the CAO's timelines. Rubicon Trail Foundation believes that most of the elements of this CAO were already accomplished, in process, or in plan, but supports this revised CAO, with the Foundation’s requested changes. “This CAO is a burden, but one that we can bear, and drive to success,” said John Arenz, a Rubicon Trail Foundation Director.
 
After the hearing presentations, the Board removed multiple pieces from the CAO: mandate for seasonal restriction (closure), incomplete and un-reviewed science, unverifiable traffic/population numbers, and references to un-certified, un-released draft planning documents. They also accepted County and Foundation feedback about timelines, and relaxed the timelines for more attainable dates, with more clear distinction between plans and documents.
 
Rubicon Trail Foundation's strategy was to provide specific information for the CVRWQB and rebuttal to incorrect facts and pictures provided in response to the original CAO, and then the Foundation asked for specific changes, in reference to our comments.

  • Correctly state that many public toilets are available alongside the trail on private property, but still available to the public
  • Remove references to the uncertified, un-released Draft Master Plan and the many errors and potentially illegal actions discussed within it
  • Correct the vehicle/person-count numbers that have been incorrectly stated/cited
  • Remove references to the Draft Sediment Study which has not been peer-reviewed or submitted for proper publication
  • Anti-recreation groups also asked for small adjustments to the CAO, very few of which they received
Rubicon Trail Foundation appreciates the huge response from trail users, who out-numbered anti-OHV attendees by nearly a hundred to 1, with a massive show of grass-roots force that filled the parking lot and overflowed into the street, as seen on News Channel 13 coverage. The prosecution team specifically acknowledged OHV affidavits in their summary statements. These were much more effective than the opposition’s simple form letter, and Rubicon Trail Foundation would like to individually thank the thousands of users who took time to sign and fax these affidavits in, with specific thanks to the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC), Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR), North American XJ Association (NAXJA), National Off Road Association (NORA), and Pirate4x4.com who were invaluable in getting out the word. NORA was especially invaluable in getting users to the Water Board offices for the hearing, and planning parking, press, and organization.
 
Rubicon Trail Foundation looks forward to working with continuing to work with El Dorado County, Eldorado National Forest, and the Regional Water Quality Board staff as we continue to manage this historic resource and the social and economic value it provides to the communities near it. The Foundation looks forward to continued success working with all interested parties in the well-established Rubicon Oversight Committee process.
 
The Rubicon Trail Foundation was formed in 2004. We are a federally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to the future health of the Rubicon Trail and our mission is to enhance the future health and use of the Rubicon Trail, while ensuring responsible motorized year-round trail access. The Foundation works with individuals, clubs, organizations, and agencies to maintain and manage the trail. Our Officers and Directors represent a wide variety of Rubicon Trail OHV users, land owners, county representatives, manufacturers, and event organizers.
 
Legal battles are expensive to fight and Rubicon Trail Foundation is committed to doing what it takes to keep the Rubicon Trail open. We have only just begun to keep the Rubicon open for all to use. Much work remains to be done this summer and in the coming years to comply with this CAO. Letters, meetings, and presentations are just a part of what we do. We also get out in the spring/summer sun and work hard to maintain the trail. If you would like to help with our efforts, we accept Paypal donations or major credit cards by calling 888-6rubicon or by signing up for a Friends of the Rubicon work party at: www.friendsoftherubicon.com
 
More information is available at www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org
 
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Rubicon Stays Open

The Rubicon Trail traverses the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains of California from roughly Georgetown, CA to Lake Tahoe, CA.  Water runoff and erosion are always concerns on trails in the west, but thanks to the efforts of all the clubs and members of Friends of the Rubicon in partnership with Eldorado County, landowners and the USFS, the Rubicon Trail is well maintained.

"FOTR has invested thousands of hours of organized trail work and maintenance since our beginning in 2001," said Del Albright, co-Founder and Trail Boss, Friends of the Rubicon. "We are well-prepared to address any concerns or issues on this famous trail, and we are working towards a future of stewardship we can all be proud of," Albright added.

Greg Mumm, Executive Director of the BlueRibbon Coalition, pointed out that "BlueRibbon has sponsored Del's leadership of efforts on the Rubicon Trail since the beginning, and we are confident that FOTR can handle this like they have everything else thrown at this famous trail."

The Rubicon Trail Foundation is the 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting efforts on the Rubicon Trail. They led the effort to ensure the Water Board understood all trail issues. RTF has position statements covering many aspects of trail use on the Rubicon, including topics like water quality, sanitation, camping, and year-round use.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation does not support the blanket restriction of Rubicon Trail use by season, or by vehicle numbers, type or size. Further, the Rubicon Trail Foundation encourages the establishment of reasonable and practical operating procedures for training of volunteer groups and others to install and maintain trail drainage structures, stream crossings and new trail segments.

Other issues being addressed by the dedicated volunteers of FOTR and RTF include mitigating oil spills and managing human waste. The Rubicon Trail Foundation supports requiring every Rubicon Trail user to carry portable human waste disposal devices and requiring every motorized user to carry oil spill kits.

The Rubicon Trail Foundation works hand in hand with the Friends of the Rubicon and together, with the agency partners, these groups are ensuring an access-friendly future for the Rubicon Trail.

"We look forward to implementing this order from the Water Quality Board in conjunction with our great partners in the county and USFS, because we all will benefit, and our trail will stay open, alive and well," Albright concludes.

More information on RTF position statements, mission, and the CAO is available at www.RubiconTrailFoundation.org - or by emailing Board Director Scott Johnston at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org

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CCMA Closure Decision Challenged

The letter, signed by Paul Turcke, an attorney for the BlueRibbon Coalition, highlights a number of the documents obtained, such as a memo authored by BLM experts seeking underlying data and questioning methodology relied upon by the EPA in its May, 2008 report that forms the basis for BLM's closure of the CCMA. The BLM closed the area through an emergency order in conjunction with the release of the EPA Report in 2008, but has promised to reevaluate the report and all reasonable management options in an ongoing and more robust public planning process. This is expected to result in the release of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in 2009.

"The EIS range of alternatives is not the place to fully concur in or reject EPA's analysis, but is instead designed to allow BLM and the public to meaningfully consider and provide input upon possible management options," the letter concludes.

The draft EIS was previously scheduled for release in January 2009, but has been delayed several times.  After it is released, it will be subject to public comment and will undergo further review before BLM announces a final decision.

View document here:  http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/FOIA_CCMA_Turcke_Letter_July_8_2009_Final.pdf

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. http://www.sharetrails.org

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Forest Service Closes Tellico OHV Area

Carla Boucher, legal counsel for the United Four Wheel Drive Associations, stated, "The Forest Service has failed to make the case with regard to adverse effects and resource damage. There is no immediate threat to public health, safety, or other requisite finding required by such an order. Water quality standards cited by the Forest Supervisor as the basis for such an order are not being exceeded." Boucher added, "In making this decision, the Forest Service must be prepared to explain why similar findings have not been made in the decades of greater environmental impact and they simply have not done that."

Greg Mumm, BRC's Executive Director, stated, "Implementing this closure order threatens the integrity of the ongoing planning process in which the interested public and our federal government have collectively invested significant time and resources."

Mumm concluded, "The economic impact of this closure will be devastating to the area and comes at a time when the current administration is calling for more jobs, economic development, and healthy outdoor recreation. It makes no sense."

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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of recreation, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org

United Four Wheel Drive Associations is an international organization comprised of four wheel drive enthusiasts, clubs, associations, and businesses dedicated to providing community services around the world, education in responsible land use and safe vehicle operation, and protection of our natural resources through conservation practices. 1-800-448-3932. www.ufwda.org

Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) was founded in 1987 to promote responsible land use and to keep public lands accessible for motorized recreation. For more information on the activities and accomplishments of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, please visit www.sfwda.org or contact us at 1483 N. Mt. Juliet Road, PMB # 222, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

 

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