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Spider Lake Closed Again (2005)

Author: Del Albright

2005 Spider Lake Motor Vehicle Closure AreaFor the second year in a row, Spider Lake of the Rubicon Trail has been closed to motor vehicle access.  This time it's for resource damage. Last year's closure (2004) was for human waste. The closure is smaller this year, but once again, Spider Lake has been closed to us while really no management has occurred to fix any of the problems that Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) has been pointing out to the USDA Forest Service and various County officials for years!

Citing resource damage (ie. vehicles driving over rocks and bushes, and getting off the trail), the Eldorado National Forest (not El Dorado County) has once again shut us out of Spider Lake.  Admittedly, this time it's only our vehicles that can't get into the vicinity of Spider Lake.  Last year, even walking in the area was prohibited because of the human waste issues.    This year, the Forest Service is concerned that continued resource damage, as well as pollutants from our vehicles, will degrade and possibly contaminate the lake.

Last year it was thought that the human waste would cause fecal coliform contamination in the lake (it didn't because we cleaned it up).

NOTE: Last year the closure was for possible human waste contamination that NEVER panned out.  There was no impact to the lake -- no bacteria found.  Also, last year the closure was initiated by El Dorado County, followed by a Forest Order from the Eldorado National Forest.  This year (2005) it was only the Eldorado National Forest issuing a Forest Order.

Here's the deal:
1. FOTR has invested over 10,000 hours of labor into the trail since 2001.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars of OHV Trust Fund money have gone into the trail -- mostly sponsored by El Dorado County.

2.  FOTR has offered up many solutions to both the County and the USDA Forest Service.  Not nearly enough has been done by either agency, especially the Forest Service to MANAGE the Rubicon Trail and especially Spider Lake.

3.  Spider Lake (USFS property and private property) still does not have any designation routes to and from; it has no designated camping areas; it has no signs telling us what can and can't be done; it has no management of the Little Sluice area even though the two are directly connected and many agency personnel feel that the Sluice exacerbates the Spider Lake problems due to human use concentration.

4.  FOTR has said many times that Emergency Closures should be reserved for when management fails.  There has not been nearly enough management of the famous Rubicon Trail to warrant closures like this.  It is time for management.

Please consider volunteering for a FOTR work weekend.

Please feel free to contact the USDA Forest Service about this closure:

John D. Berry, Forest Supervisor
Eldorado National Forest
100 Forni Road
Placerville, CA 95667
530-642-5122 TTY

Eldorado National Forest Visitor Information

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