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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rubicon Trail Volunteers Bring Us Up to Date

Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) Annual Meeting 2010 Report from Jacquelyne Bebe Theisen
The FOTR Annual meeting went very well. We had a full day with lots of great information from our own membership and from our agency partners.

We began the meeting with introductions and comments from Del and Daphne Greene to kick things into gear.  (full room; 100 folks)

We then had a recap of workdays on the trail for the year, both the El Dorado side and the Placer side, I recapped the El Dorado and Doug Barr recapped the Placer. We have accomplished a ton last year and have even MORE to do this year.

I introduced a new oil cleaning product, that after*two trials on the trail, was modified to include a detergent free surfactant, an enzyme and a microbe. It took all the best of the two products we used to remove old oils stains from the granite, and added an enzyme for the fast acting breakdown of petroleum, and a microbe that contines to breakdown any oil that gets into the soil over time. The new product is called "S'oil Cleanse" and has now been added to the County's Grant request to be added to the free spill kits that we hand out on the trail, in convenient 8oz squeeze bottles. The product will also be available to the public and can be purchased in larger volume containers.

There were some meaningful highlights, one of them being a "Lifetime Achievement Award" presented to Mr. Dana Holland. Dana's achievements on the Rubicon go back over 30 years. One of the most notable projects being the Rubicon Springs Bridge, with the most recent being the Wentworth Springs Kiosk, Oil Containment Bdlg, and the Wag Bag collection Receptacle. I'll send out some photo's when I get them together.

Rubicon Trail Foundation recapped their grant funding and status for 2009-2010 grant cycle. They also had a show and tell of the new Pooper Unimog that will be used on the trail for pumping out the new toilets that will be installed (hopefully) over the next couple of years at remote locations like Spider Lake and Buck Island Lake.

Del held the annual election of the Trail Boss, and by a show of hands, I was elected by the present members. Del apologized for not holding an election at the time he chose to appoint Todd and I last year, but said he did what he did, and apologized again.

Shortly after we went straight into the business of the new Org Chart for FOTR, and all current appointments remained the same, and a couple of empty positions were filled. I can e-mail you the chart if you would like one.

I also briefly went over the CGS map provided to me by the County last week, that showed all of the areas that need our attention. We will again spend the majority of our time on the west side of the trail this year, but now have specific projects laid out before us. I will need folks to step up for Incident Commander Positions as we will have 5 work days this year. I can email a Calendar with all of the pertinent dates.

I asked the membership to assist with a project that will include a lot of buckets, and the major organized runs this year by JJUSA, Jeepers Jamborees and others like TLCA, Marlin Crawler runs too. We have a couple of areas that need to be filled back up to Original Grade. These will not be done during our normal workdays, nor by the County, but we will be handing out buckets to be filled with rock from a location on the trail, and dropped at Walker Hill and Winter Camp, the two more incised areas of the trail. More details to come as things come together.

We broke for lunch and were stuffed to the gills with the most amazing Rockhead food ever, Dale Robins whipped up some chili verde, chicken and beef for a plethora of tacos. Wow, no wonder they are the official Cook Crew of FOTR! They Rock!

The Agency panel was very informative, and included USFS, EL Dorado County, Water Board and OHMVR Representatives. Grants for upcoming projects were discussed, as well as Forest Service Projects, and a continued vote of support from OHMVR.

Daphne Green from OHMVR communicated how important FOTR is, as it sets the standard NATION WIDE for what a collaboration of Volunteers and Agencies can accomplish together, and we were congratulated by other agencies on out talent, resources and our die hard desire to keep the Rubicon alive and well for future generations.

Diane Rubiaco from Pacific District spoke about defining some dispersed camping areas along the trail, and also providing a route to some of these areas. While details were not readily available, in a previous meeting, both Buck Island and Little Sluice/Spider lake areas were discussed. Very encouraging. She did say that they may not look like we image they should. but that she is looking forward to a collaborative process.

Vickie Sanders of El Dorado County told us about the grants being requested by the County on the Rubicon Trails behalf, and again thanked to volunteers for their work on the trail. Vickie is truly the lady who makes it all happen for us, working with both the DOT, Legal and the Supervisors office to advocate for us at every turn. I can't thank her enough.

Phil Jenkins of OHMVR described a collaboration of 4 Law Enforcement Agencies that will be active on and around the trail this year. He is working on a project to include 2 State Parks officers that will be placed at a mid trail position during the Summer.

Law enforcement this year will be the largest presence we have ever seen on the Rubicon Trail, with 2 full time State Parks LEO's, 2 Forest Service FPO's, and 2 full time Sheriffs officers.

Marty Hartzel from the Water Board came to tell us how we were progressing on the CAO, and let us know that everything is going as planned, all reports have been submitted on time, and that they are looking forward to the Long term management Plan and the Saturated Soils plan due this year.

As we wound things down, Duncan Waldrop took the time to discuss a Trail Patrol Project he has been working on for RTF. RTF hired him to design a trail patrol program that will be self sustaining. Duncan also presented the CalStar Program to members of FOTR, and we had to vote to be called a group just for this purpose. It was overwhelmingly approved, and now all members of FOTR are eligible for Cal Star Helicopter Insurance for $35.00 per year. If you are interested - contact Duncan, and he will get you the necessary information.

Thank you all who attended, presented and committed your time to the Friends of the Rubicon. We couldn't do it with out each and every one of you.

Thank you all for your vote and your vote of confidence. We are going to have a GREAT year, a PRODUCTIVE year, and will be one step closer to lifting the Clean up and Abatement Order.

Bebe, Trail Boss

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