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219 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to limit more comment beyond this... consider it a wake up call. Without a large grassroots response the Rubicon will slowly slip away...

The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted tonight to reduce the rocks in Little Sluice - so one of the symbols of 4X4 will soon be gone. IMHO, the decision was made a long time ago and the members of the 4X4 community that supported it should be ridden out a rail - and that would include some of the money making enterprises.

That isn't all that happened. Its not good. If you are interested research and decide for yourself. You can read about it over on Pirate4X4 but may I suggest you watch out for spin and astroturf? But then you probably already knew that - LOL

I'll update with County documents later.

Personally, I don't blame supervisor Jack Sweeney, he's just a politician catering to his back slapping friends like any of them... this is also not just an issue from the antis and Water Board - those provide some of the complex background scenery and catalysts. This is a large problem - but it has become obvious the "County club" does not believe the 4X4 community matters much because, after all, what are you going to do about, punk?

IMHO, what is being done also violates the spirit of RS2477 and I think the County full well knows it. If I didn't want to see the Rubicon open and free I'd laugh myself out of my chair from watching the County hang itself with its "good ole boy" politics..... a litigation zombie, they just don't know it yet.


If you download the staff report, I think it gives a mini explanation of the RS2477 issue very well. The County recognizes the Rubicon is not a single path 25 feet wide of a centerline - it can be multiple routes because it depends on what the public established through historical use.

Staff Report said:
This historic pattern is reflected today on the modern Rubicon Trail, where different drivers take slightly different paths depending on the same factors. It is therefore likely that the public’s legal right-of-way over what we call the Rubicon Trial is not limited to just one single path, but rather includes a variety of closely-related paths along the same general route.
Yet - what has happened? A map made and routes closed. Did we the public do that? Nope - County did. As a matter of fact they ignored most of the users. I would also argue commercial use is not public use in this context.

Staff Report said:
The County does not believe that it has the legal ability to vacate or abandon the rights-of-way held by the public under federal law, so the County is not proposing to legally eliminate the federal right-of-way that may or may not exist along the non-selected routes. The underlying principle is that by selecting a specific route, and maintaining the selected route according to the mandates of the CAO, while also remediating the non-selected routes and taking the appropriate steps to discourage continued public use of them, the objectives of the CAO can be achieved without time consuming, expensive and unpredictable litigation to determine precisely who drove where between 1866 and 1905. There is precedent supporting this approach. The Ellis Creek Intertie consists of a selected route that is used by virtually all users today, which successfully diverts users away from the previously-used route that went through Pleasant Meadow (see Map Location (O)) causing unacceptable damage. No legal rights-of-way were eliminated in the process, but the Ellis Creek Intertie route has successfully replaced the less-favored route through the meadow.
Did you catch that? Remediation is a regulatory/legal term often used in environmental issues - tells 4X4 "hasta la vista, baby". Putting aside the farce of why the County is saying until 1905 - the County is basically saying it is too troublesome to figure out the legal public right-of-way - the County does what it wants and the sheep will follow - we always have haven't we?

219 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
The "good news" is you can help the powers that be by volunteering to help disassemble Little Sluice and close routes. :shaking:

38 Posts
A wake up call indeed.

The amount of volunteers, enthusiasts, and supporters for the Rubicon Trail is huge. The amount of time in gathering people, places, and money to keep the fight to keep it open in its "original state" is an undertaking that most would seem overwhelming.

Yet, the supporters of this trail have done just that. Feverishly. I do believe they will continue to do so, for all of us, and those to come.

Why do they work so hard at the battle? Passion for their sport? hobby? pastime? dedication?

Why does any army that truly believes in what they do, do it for?

I know, so do all of you. It will be a never ending battle.

Yet, with all that support, the battle for this icon has drawn trench lines again, deeper, between the want to's and the don't go there's.

So what about your favorite trail? The trails with less support, less hard work, less volunteers, less iconic, and less money to fight for access.

Who is going to fight for those?

Easy pickins'

A wake up call indeed.


219 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
While respect and thanks for what has been done in the past certainly should be done - I don't think the current intermingling of conflicting interests is going to solve the issue for 4X4. The area has a lot of people in government positions (Sacramento area survives on government employment) and they can't be expected to go against the bureaucracy.

FOTR should be supported because it is mostly a grassroots org but the astroturf potholes need to be fixed. IMHO, FOTR hands are tied in some areas and perhaps they can get untangled from the spiders web but I don't know. To make matters worse there are some nuts in the larger 4X4 community there that are so proud of the Rubicon way of doing business that they want to help run the whole state.

Like it or not - letting the Rubicon work out its own problems - which is what some of the people involved largely have done and want (except send the money) - is probably not only not going to work - its going to sink many other trails in the process.

I rarely use the Rubicon but I know the implications for where I do go - places I can drive all day and rarely see anyone. That is the problem - Rubicon damage control would be difficult and we better find a way to handle it now or its going to be too late.

I was going to post last week about Carnegie - a California off-road sate park - i.e. a state run designated area for off-road. Never been there, from past readings it has a lot of dirt bike riders and some from the 4X4 community.

I think it was great that people from Friends of the Rubicon and Friends of El Dorado showed up at Carnegie.

Carnegie was ordered closed by a judge with a taste for radical judgments after the antis filed suit. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=26096

The issue was off-road vehicles cause sediment (dirt) to eventually find its way into streams etc. "the waters of the State".

I saw it as having little to do with Carnegie - the Central Valley Regional Water Board is both Carnegie and the Rubicon. The antis would use Carnegie, which had a small user base, against the Rubicon and if it works then all trails in California would fall from one action.

Not a bad plan - but I knew the one thing the California structure will not stand for, especially attorneys, is upstarts that don't pay them homage first and go after the bureaucracy.

I was curious how the Jerry Brown Attorney General's office would proceed when Brown has designs on running for governor and the office has many that embrace radical environmental agendas. Not good press - Brown vs. environmentalists.

They have jumped in and it is now with the California Appellate court.

The legal papers from the AG's office don't bother to dispute, and in some ways affirm, the antis position that off-road vehicles produce dirt sediment, dirt is a pollutant therefore has to be viewed like any pollutant, and therefore off-road vehicles are polluting the water of the State.

So, regardless of the outcome, the Attorney General's office has rolled over on the antis viewpoint. The legal argument against the antis is one with a long history - you can't go to court because you failed to first exhaust administrative remedies -so I think the Judge that ordered the closure gets slapped down.

So, with AGs position on dirt in hand - each side gets to spin it as victory and if Carnegie actually falls then the antis also achieve their Disneyland dreams of closing trails at will.

As I mentioned the Rubicon situation is complex.

As many here know, I do not support the "old school" way business is being done there. Unfortunately, the Rubicon was left largely to locals who vehemently protect the "private club" authority and control information - this is the way things were done in many areas, not just the Rubicon. The local interests mix 4X4, land owners, and businesses that make money off the trail.

The Rubicon may go the way of other areas in California where the locals and those of us "in the know" get keys to gates and can do pretty much what we always have done. All it takes is butt kissing some officials and help them when some of the brethren gets unruly.

I guess part of getting old is I won't take keys - you let us in or gate us out but no more "going along to get along" so I can get mine and the rest are on their own.

Some people will not care if the Rubicon gets knocked down to become whatever a stock JK can tackle or perhaps whatever the Jamborees wish to use. Shouldn't we make it a road so treacherous old men can relive their youth? LOL (I wonder if these people knew they didn't need a Little Sluice Bypass - Little Sluice wasn't "vandalized" until 1992)

YouTube - Vintage Rubicon Trail Jeepers Jamboree

219 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ronin(1998) said:
Deirdre: Morning.I see you're reviewin' our problem.
Sam: Well, either you're part of the problem, part of the solution... or you're just part of the landscape.
The RTF-FOTR press release is over on Pirate4X4
"In a frustrating last-minute twist which caught the public by surprise, the Board of Supervisors also voted to reduce the size of the largest rocks in the iconic Little Sluice Box, a signature section of Rubicon Trail near Spider Lake with high technical difficulty. This controversial proposal, was put forth by Supervisor Jack Sweeney after the public comments session was closed. "

Sweeney is Rubicon Trail Foundation board and some RTF board members have wanted the rocks in Little Sluice reduced for years. But even the recent past is past and the RTF board supported Little Sluice because afterall that is what the last press release said. Must really be a bummer for those long time relationships to get burned like that, tears in their eyes I guess. Yeah, he's turned rogue and can't be controlled, is that it ? Must be it....

Ronin (1998) is a spy film with a twist, the cold war ended and there are many agents looking for freelance work. In the film, trying to keep track of who is zooming who zooms as fast as the car chases....

Ronin(1998) said:
Sam (Robert DeNiro): Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That's the first thing they teach you.
Vincent (Jean Reno): Who taught you?
Sam: I don't remember. That's the second thing they teach you.
A side plot is an examination of themes from the Japanese story "Forty-Seven Ronin" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty-Seven_Ronin), the film has a short summary.

Ronin(1998) said:
Jean-Pierre (Michael Lonsdale): The Forty-Seven Ronin. Do you know it?
[Sam shakes his head]
Jean-Pierre: Forty-seven samurai, whose master was betrayed and killed by another lord. They became ronin - masterless samurai - disgraced by another man's treachery. For three years they plotted, pretending to be thieves, mercenaries, even madmen -- and then one night they struck, slipping into the castle of their lord's betrayer and killing him.
Sam: Nice. I like that. My kind of job.
Jean-Pierre: There's something more. All forty-seven of them committed seppuku - ritual suicide - in the courtyard of the castle.
Sam: Well, that I don't like so much.
Jean-Pierre: But you understand it.
Sam: What do you mean, I understand it?
Jean-Pierre: The warrior code. The delight in the battle, you understand that, yes? But also something more. You understand there is something outside yourself that has to be served. And when that need is gone, when belief has died, what are you? A man without a master.
Sam: Right now I'm a man without a paycheck.
Jean-Pierre: The ronin could have hired themselves to new masters. They could have fought for themselves. But they chose honor. They chose myth.
Sam: They chose wrong.
The last words in the film
Vincent: No questions. No answers. Thats the business we're in. You just accept it and move on. Maybe thats lesson number three.
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