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Well-Known Member

On July 15, 2004 Eldorado National Forest
Supervisor John Berry signed a temporary order
closing the Spider Lake area, adjacent to the
Rubicon four-wheel drive trail, to public use for
120 days due to a public health hazard. The order
closes the National Forest land around Spider
Lake and works in conjunction with El Dorado
Countyís emergency resolution closing the private
land in the area. The Rubicon 4WD trail is open
for through traffic.

This closure was the result of human
waste/sanitation issues around the high Sierra
Nevada Spider Lake. The Rubicon Trail has no
sanitation facilities and uninformed users were
leaving human waste dangerously close to water
sources. Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) has been
working with governing agencies for three years
to get sanitation methods in place on the trail,
but as of yet, no good solution has been found.

The Rubicon Trail runs through solid granite
areas, with very shallow soil profiles. The
shallow depth of the soils, combined with the
solid granite prevalent throughout the area, make
standard toilet options impractical. Further,
because of the serious nature of four-wheeling
required to traverse the trail, standard pumping
trucks and extraction methods are not practical

FOTR, as well as other clubs, have been cleaning
up the trail and removing the human waste for
years. But this year the trail use increased
dramatically and the human waste disposal became
a real significant issue. There are no
designated camping spots around Spider Lake, it
is a dispersed camping area. So campers were
spreading out over a wide area, and camping too
close to the lake.

FOTR has launched a major effort to help both the
County and the USDA Forest Service in the
management of this increased use of the Rubicon
Trail. It is hoped that the closure can be
lifted sooner than the November 10 date. But for
now, the Spider Lake area closed to all access of
any kind. The Little Sluice Box and remainder of
the Rubicon Trail are open as always.

Visit the Rubicon Trail Home Page for updates:


Del Albright
Trail Boss, Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR)
Moderator, FOTR Email List
BlueRibbon Ambassador and Life Member
State Environmental Affairs Coordinator, CA4WDC

Rubicon Trail Home Page: www.delalbright.com/
Albright Enterprises
PO BOX 127
Mokelumne Hill, CA 95245-0127

Curtis Guise

Thanks for posting about this in here Paige. I was camping with a rock crawling group that I have been a part of for awhile at Spider Lake just weeks before the closure. The group took it upon themselves to organize a huge cleanup which happened this last weekend. Here is a post from the message board.

"The guy that closed Spider Lake.......
is truly a "Friend of the Rubicon" in every sense of the phrase! The man I'm speaking of is El Dorado County Supervisor Jack Sweeney. I was fortunate to be able to meet Jack, his wife Toni and Mike Gray (EDC Parks Ops Mgr) and take them on a tour of our work area Saturday. They arrived with shovels and gloves in hand READY TO WORK! That's right, the very man that signed the order to close Spider for 120 days was there with his wife and Mike to help US clean it up! He took the time to meet with each group to explain the reasoning behind his decision and to reassure us that he is on OUR side wanting to keep the area open to users for many years to come. He fielded and answered questions from our workers and asked for their opinions on many issues that the trail faces today. This is a man I respect and can work with!

When our work was done, we shared a cold beer and enjoyed watching a few of our workers attemp and conquer the Little Sluice. They were encouraging the drivers and enjoying the day

I made many new friends this weekend, 3 of them are Jack, Toni and Mike

Mark Langford "



Well-Known Member
Well, it sounds like a closure with good purposes from someone who loves offroading. Hopefully they can figure out a way to improve the situation and make for a cleaner area.