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FOTR Offer Suggestions for Reopening Camping at Spider Lake

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 10:21 pm    Post subject: FOTR Offer Suggestions for Reopening Camping at Spider Lake Reply with quote

With the recent announcement by El Dorado National Forest, in conjunction with El Dorado County, to temporarily close all camping at Spider Lake adjacent to the famous Rubicon Trail, the 400-member Friends of the Rubicon and other supporting clubs and organizations have collaborated and today released a 10-point management plan to resolve the issues.

Spider Lake camping was temporarily closed by El Dorado County officials on July 13 due to human health and safety issues caused by improperly disposed of human waste. Although no contamination was found in the lake, officials said the potential health hazard was serious enough to warrant a resolution for closing. Subsequently, the U.S. Forest Service followed the county with a Forest Order closure.

"We have known about the health and safety issues at Spider Lake for many years," said Del Albright, who spearheads the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) organization. "Our organization, as well as many four-wheel drive clubs and interested individuals have devoted untiring energy to cleaning up the trail and removing human waste for many years."

Albright said his volunteers were able to keep up with the workload in previous years; however, the trail has seen a dramatic increase in popularity this year. He explained that there are no designated camping areas around Spider Lake, so campers have been spreading out over a wide area and many camping too close to the lake.

"In an effort to reopen Spider Lake camping, preserve the beauty and integrity of the Rubicon Trail and maintain environmentally sensitive motorized access to the trail," said Albright, "we have drafted a 10-Point Plan that was received today by the USDA Forest Service and El Dorado County." Albright said the collaborative plan was crafted to ensure continued and historical access to the trail, to mitigate current and future environmental and health issues along the trail and to prevent further closures along the trail.

The off-highway vehicle group proposes a mandatory "pack-it-out" portable toilet/human waste disposal system along the trail for any trail user, much like those used by trailer campers, hikers and recreational vehicle owners. Albright said this effort would support the ongoing effort by El Dorado County that began with grants from the California State Parks Off-Highway Vehicle Trust Fund. He said environmentally safe systems would be used on the Rubicon Trail, such as those provided by ThePett system, which are landfill and dumpster safe.

Other proposals in the plan call for kiosk staffing and educational outreach at all entrances to the Rubicon Trail, exploring possibilities for carrying capacity management and working with the Forest Service and El Dorado County to develop and construct campsites around the Spider Lake area with designated access routes.

Additionally, the group proposes camping designations and development at Buck Island Lake, increased fines for trail violations, an increase in trail patrol and better signage and maps for trail users.

Albright said that in addition to the Friends of the Rubicon, many elements of this 10-point plan have received endorsement from the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, the California Off-Road Vehicle Association, United Four Wheel Drive Association, Off Road Business Association and the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

For more information on the FOTR 10-Point Plan or other questions regarding the Rubicon Trail, contact Del Albright at (209) 286-1009 or email
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