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Old 07-07-2006, 09:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Any Bypasses Legal? 50' right of way?

I know this topic has come up before but with the heightened enforcement activity it might be a good idea to put it out there again. Might save some poor guy hitting the trail for the first time a few hundred bucks by keeping him on the proper trail and encourage others to keep it on the straight and narrow too

My understanding is there is a 50' easement, 25' on either side that is legitimate for you to have your vehicle on. Only makes sense though that if your cutting your own path through the bushes but your still within 25' your going to get a ticket. I believe it falls under the catagory of resource damage. A lot can fall under that catagory. Fines can run into the thousands of $$$ and can include jail time too. Thats right, if you want to get really stupid out there, you can be fined and jailed. Is going off the trail really worth a couple of grand and a month in jail?? (To my knowledge it hasn't come to this level yet, but it will)

I'm a little confused by the forest service maps as it appears that all bypasses are now illegal? Devils Postpile (Wentworth entrance), Little Sluice, Old Sluice (both slab route and shorter bypass) What about Soup Bowl?
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/pro...ps/index.shtml If you haven't been to this site check it out as it shows whats legal and whats not.

Can anyone clarify this? Are exceptions being made in these areas?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

I do know that the official trail is getting marked better all the time, (tree signs, reflective road markers from the dam across the bowl, rocks, trees, etc. being moved to define the trail and block illegal bypasses) by groups like FOTR, The Pirates and many, many others along with the Trail Patrol trying to inform and educate. Anybody who has done the trail for the first time in the last couple of years or is getting to do it for the first time, as well as the rest of us that continue to enjoy the trail owes all these hard working people a great debt of gratitude and a few . Because without them, there would be no Rubicon.

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Old 07-07-2006, 10:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Technically, if it ain't on the Motorized Restriction Map, it is not legal, from the USFS perspective. If you are on an established county road (remember, the county claimed the 'Rubicon tail and its variants,' and you think you can get the county to join your defense, you might get the case dismissed. I'd frankly like to see that precedent set for the obvious, well-established bypasses like Little Sluice, True Sluice, Postpile, and Soup Bowl (the SB obstacle technically resides in the 25' from the centerline of the trail, but the short spur that wraps back around to the trail is too far).

Here's an easy-to-view section of the Motorized Restriction Map:

Per the map, the only legal route down to Buck from Spider is through Old Sluice (a.k.a. Middle Sluice, True Sluice, Flatfender Alley, etc.). The map does NOT show the slabs route, but IMHO that is a clear error. Nor does it show any of the alternate routes around Spider. The Motor Vehicle Restriction Map was a rush-job to get out, and I expect it has more than a few such mistakes. The Forest Service won't be fixing it this year.

The high road is to follow the letter of the law and work to correct the errors, but the current restriction map has so many errors, and is so restrictive, that it make outlaws of 95% of users (including all organized/permitted events that take the County-approved Little Sluice bypass, within the public right-of-way). I recommend that we apply conservative good reason and 'wheel only those we are most sure of, realizing that there is slight risk of prosecution in doing so.

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Last edited by randii; 04-10-2009 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 07-07-2006, 11:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Randii,

I don't have the skills to post up a portion of the map, but the ones I look at on the forest service website show a lot more than what you put up. A lot of bypasses or old routes appear in brown - denoting unauthorized / unclassified routes.

The version of the map I look at that you put up has the route down the slabs and the smaller bypass on it and it also shows an area that would appear to be below the dam as an OHV area (light brown in color). This version is obviously in color. http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/doc...rthsprings.pdf Here's the direct link.

Is the part you posted from the actual hard copy that is being passed out? I find that one pretty poor also. Does one version over rule the other?

Perhaps for these areas the term "unclassified" is the technicality that could get you your precedent. It would force the forest service into making different distinctions between unauthorized and unclassified. Not that I'm looking to be a test case or anything
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Old 07-07-2006, 11:49 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Randii,

Was there any progress in the request for a memorandum of understanding from the county and/or FS to allow the two bypasses at the Little Sluice and the route over the slabs around the Old Sluice. I realize that the slabs are mostly private property. Do we have the okay from the property owners?
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Old 07-07-2006, 12:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Patfo, the maps you linked to are the Route Designation *color* quarter-quads -- part of the ongoing forest service process. The routes that are being enforced based on Forest Order #03-05-07 are from the the supporting *grayscale* Motorized Restriction Map (both reference here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/eldorado/pro...fo/index.shtml ). That grayscale map is the actual hard copy that is being passed out, and yes, it is pretty poor.

The Route Designation process is how the forest service will classify the routes you discussed, but the 03-05-07 Forest Order and the grayscale map it references are law until Route Designation is complete.

Doug, there has been no formal progress on any sort of MOU or enforcement guideline from the Forest Service. Delay could be due to the holidays or the new forest supervisor... or they might just be avoiding us. I have not asked the private property owners about this directly, I'll try to remember to do so at the next ROC.

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Old 07-07-2006, 09:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What about Soup Bowl?
A few weeks back our group was up there on Soup bowl and Scott, one the older Sheriffs, walked up on us. I had just made it up and was having a beer in celebration. While the next rig was trying the line, I asked him if we were "OK" going up this and he said "yes, for now". Then he explained that as long as you are not driving over the "green stuff" you are pretty much OK. He said that they were going to leave Soup bowl and other areas like it as "play areas" and allow driving on those places as long as people don't get off line and cause resource damage. He noted that many new "not a trail" stick signs (I forgot the true term) had been put around the edge along the top of soup bowl, and he also pointed out how several of them had all ready been run over! He said if this continues, they will have to close off the whole area. In other words: the more people veer off line and drive over bushes & other green stuff, the more we loose!

and to finish my story: I could tell he was watching me drink the beer as we were talking. Of course, all too soon it was time to leave and drive on, so I had my wife finish the beer before we got back in my jeep. He waved us goodbye and off we went. I could tell he had a certain amount of toleration for what we were doing.

So my advice to all is this: Just play smart. Don't spin your tires tearing up the green stuff, try to stay on the trail, don't get stupid drunk, and everything will be OK.

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Old 07-07-2006, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dozer dude
He noted that many new "not a trail" stick signs (I forgot the true term) had been put around the edge along the top of soup bowl, and he also pointed out how several of them had all ready been run over!
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:54 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dozer dude
While the next rig was trying the line, I asked him if we were "OK" going up this and he said "yes, for now". Then he explained that as long as you are not driving over the "green stuff" you are pretty much OK. He said that they were going to leave Soup bowl and other areas like it as "play areas" and allow driving on those places as long as people don't get off line and cause resource damage.
I have nothing but respect for Merlin Scott, and believe that the information he's sharing is the direction that this will eventually go, but IMHO it is not technically how the rules are laid out right now, at this time.

I do think this approach (stay close to the trail and off the green stuff) will keep individuals out of trouble for the most part, but be aware that you do this at your own peril. Hell, I drive faster than 55 on deserted country highways and take my chances -- this is much the same. If you bend the overly-expansive rule that temporarily closes time-honored bypasses that we fully expect will be re-opened, you take your chances with enforcement. I'm just not comfortable personally advising other folks to assume risk, especially when enforcement is uneven, at best.

Merlin is absolutely spot on in observing that if users keep driving over the not-a-trail carsonites, we'll see even more aggressive closures.

Drive responsibly out there, people -- you may be held accountable for your actions... and our user group may have to answer for them, as well. Dozer Dude has a good summary: "Play smart."

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