Author: Del Albright
For 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
(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
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