Rubicon Trail Foundation
Preliminary Application Comments
I've attached my comments for The Rubicon Trail Foundation (hereafter, "RTF") grant application. Generally, I like both of these grants, but I worry that RTF is not aggressively ranking itself for the highest number of points possible. I've suggested a series of small adjustments that may help up the ranking relative to other grant proposals. Other grants will be going full-out for the highest scores, I recommend that RTF should do the same.
Browsing in from the Public Review page, I see three rows, and will provide feedback in three general sets:
General Application Requirements
G08-04-22-G01 G Ground Operations
G08-04-22-S01 S Education & Safety
The last row looks like it may be mistakenly categorized as a Safety grant and not an Educatiuon grant, as RTF appears to intend, based on the information it provides.
General Application Requirements
Note that on the Facesheet, only the G08-04-22-G01 (Ground Operations) grant is listed on the Page 1, Item 2 Project Request(s) Summary, omitting the G08-04-22-S01
(Education) grant. OHV Visitor Opportunity Summary appears to reference a "Rubicon Trail 2005 Visitor Count Summary" - is this an attachment or citation? I suggest adding a URL link to a specific website.
Quality of OHV Opportunity lists points for free maps, online maps at land manager's website, maps documenting difficulty of each OHV trail, maps that indicate difficulty of trail, and maps that indicate appropriate OHV use type, as well as the presence of staging areas with restrooms. To these checked boxes, I suggest adding a check in the last box, since the trail intersections are well-signed at Airport Flat, Wentworth Springs, Ellis Inter-Tie, Mud Lake, Rubicon/ Soda Springs, Pacific Crest Trail, Barker Pass/Blackwood Canyon, and Richardson Lake.
In Variety of OHV opportunity, based on the Rubicon Trail / Vehicles & Gear and Rubicon Trail / Conditions pages at Rubicon Trail website. I believe you should bump your rating for skill level to include at least 2 skill levels, if not three skill levels, since time of year and difficulty of line dramatically affect the difficulty of the ride.
Agency Contribution appears to reference past "RTP Monies and in-lieu funds" - is this an attachment or citation? I suggest adding a URL link to a specific website.
Under Prevention of OHV Trespass - Patrol (Page 2) RTF documents El Dorado County Sheriff and Community Service Officer patrols, but makes no mention of the excellent Rubicon Trail Patrol efforts on the trail and at the Loon Lake kiosk most summer weekends, nor the regular patrols by Forest Protection Officers and infrequent patrols by USFS Law Enforcement Officers (both, courtesy of our friends at Eldorado National Forest). I believe you should add up the hours of patrol and consider changing from the 3-point selection to the 5-point selection, for 5 days a week.
Under OHV Education - Page 1 you list free literature, bulletin boards, and signs. I suggest adding URL links to a specific website for samples or pictures of these.
Under Natural and Cultural Resources - Page 2 you check No. I suggest you check Yes considering the comprehensive Trail Assessment that California Geological Survey just provided El Dorado County. This Trail Assessment contains extensive pictures and descriptions that will prove invaluable for any monitoring plan, and the GIS component will allow the County to work directly with the Forest Service to inventory and work around sensitive habitats, cultural resources, archeological sites, and/or other GIS polygons. GIS is expandable to absorb almost any level of information, from direct sampling attachments linked to GPS points to seasonal photographs from the same point each year, to traffic counts at particular places on the trail.
G08-04-22-G01 G Ground Operations
To the essay portion of the Ground Operations proposal, I suggest that you make note of the continuing legacy of volunteerism that has existed since the road was created by Indians, improved by resort owners, and then managed on a semi-annual basis by Jeep Jamboree and Jeepers Jamboree, as well as Jeep Jamboree, USA and the property owners in Rubicon Springs. Other agencies have pitched in, but the majority of maintenance has been done by volunteers, trail users, and property owners, for as long as anyone can remember.
I'd like to see a higher level of information provided in the expense table, and suggest that next year, OHMVR mandate a minimum length of content for these fields. For this year, for this grant, I'm not sure whether the system supports addition of more information, but believe it would assist grant administrators in evaluating grants if it were provided.
Under Failure to Complete - Q2, I recommend marking boxes 1-4 (but not 5). The Compact Emplacement Excavator (CEE) trucks can be used to move boulders and logs or create berms to protect cultural sites and sensitive habitat, or protect against potential trespass off the Rubicon Trail or its variants. This would need detailed in the text field below these check-boxes, as well.
Under Sustain OHV Opportunity - Q3, I recommend additionally marking the third box for providing traffic control and/or educational signage. The CEE trucks can be used to transport materials along the trail for educational signage, and the bucket/backhoe can be used to plant sign-posts or move boulders and logs to confine traffic to the Rubicon Trail or its variants. This would need detailed in the text field below these check-boxes, as well.
Under Utilization of Partnerships - Q5, though it does not help your ranking, since you are maxed out, I recommend using the full list of RTF partnerships, as shown on the Education grant application: Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR), Rubicon Trail Patrol (RTP), El Dorado County, Placer County, Eldorado National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Jeepers Jamboree.
Under Impact to Natural and Cultural Resources - Q6, I recommend adding checks to the first, fourth, and seventh boxes. The CEE trucks can be used to move boulders and logs, create berms, or otherwise create/maintain physical barriers to control OHV use. Similarly, it can be used to create/maintain physical barriers to protect special-status species and protect cultural sites. This would need detailed in the text field below these check-boxes, as well.
Under Recycled Materials - Q7, I recommend adding a check to the last box. The CEE trucks themselves will be recycled/rehabilitated surplus U.S. Army trucks and the toilet paper that will be stocked in trail-side restrooms could be purchased to specifically target 50%-or-better post-consumer waste and/or recycled fibers.
Under Sustainable Technologies - Q8, I recommend checking the 'yes' box. Sourcing a diesel Unimog 416 pumper truck will allow RTF to run B20-or-better bio-diesel in the tank. This truck could be a cool test-bed for other 'green' grease and oil products.
G08-04-22-S01 S Education & Safety
To the essay portion of the Education proposal, I suggest that you add more details on the successful past educational activities of RTF, including but not limited to supporting kiosk hand-outs, supporting Rubicon Trail Patrol, and supporting education outreach at Spider Lake. You speak well to your intentions, but can emphasizie past successes, as well, and build on them.
As well, I recommend adding discussion of the opportunities to increase OHV opportunity, as shown on the Ground Operation grant application (reduced impacts will potentially allow increased usage levels with lower net impact to the resource). This will be motivating the OHV Division, who is in the business of increason OHV opportunity in California!
As with the Ground Operation grant application, I'd like to see a higher level of information provided in the expense table, and suggest that next year, OHMVR mandate a minimum length of content for these fields. For this year, for this grant, I'm not sure whether the system supports addition of more information, but believe it would assist grant administrators in evaluating grants if it were provided. Definitely, though, RTF needs to add in a reasonable 10% administrative overhead fee and recheck the corresponding numbers to ensure that the appropriate balances are maintained for grant funds and match funds. If more volunteer hours are needed to amortize the administrative overhead, I suggest tracking what appears to be un-documented hours, in that SOMEONE will have to track and manage the efforts of the Kiosk Coordinator, Trail Patrol Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator/Office Staff, and Mid-Trail Outreach Staff. These are necessarily basic positions that will benefit from tracking and accountability from a part-time manager.
I'm not sure whether the Trail Patrol Equipment is the professional-quality GPS trackers, as originally discussed, but it may make more sense to try to find a lease/provider for this equipment instead of purchasing it and committing to a single vendor and single technology. I recommend checking for alternate vendors. If the Trail Patrol Equipment line item is not the professional-quality GPS trackers, please check to ensure this was not accidentally omitted.
Under Evaluation Criteria - Q6, I suggest that you check the first box, for Meetings with the general public to discuss the Project, since this project will be discussed at monthly Rubicon Oversight Meeting, annual Friends of the Rubicon Meetings, and at Rubicon Trail Patrol meetings, since the coordinators will engage at all of these levels.
Under Evaluation Criteria - Q10, I suggest that you add checks for Radio/TV advertisements and Public relations/media, since I know that RTF advertises in the Ca4WDC In Gear magazine and on several websites. Jacquelyne Theisen is appearing weekly to host a weekly radio show, and she can get regular word out to supporters and volunteers in the area.
I'm not sure it helps, since items 12 and 13 are targeted more for Safety Grants, but RTF regularly hits the trail with licensed amateur radio operators and licensed paramedics and/or emergency medical technicians. If bouns points are available for Safety. [Deborah Pulskamp - 4/6/09]
While we appreciate the work RTF is willing to undertake to keep the Rubicon Trail open, the amount of ground disturbing activity involved requires NEPA/CEQA compliance. There doesn't appear to be any place in the application to indicate that this has been done. In the case of the Rubicon, we know it has not. Also, because El Dorado County is disclaiming responsibility for the Rubicon Trail, they can't authorize the work RTF wants to do. We suggest the County complete the Trail Master Plan for which it collected nearly $400,000 in OHV grants so the work of reconstructing and maintaining the trail can begin in a meaningful way. [Karen Schambach - 4/6/09]
I’m running out of time so I have to condense these comments, sorry…
I would like to express my support for all of the following grant applications (G08-04-22-G01 and G08-04-22-S01). This will provide for necessary trail maintenance done proudly by the OHV users as well as help continuing educational efforts to encourage responsible OHV use. [Morgan DeRodeff - 4/6/09]
Using the website to submit comments is so confusing and frustrating I do not want to waste my time further to try to figure it out.
I support all the grants from El Dorado County and Rubicon Trail Foundation.
I support Forest grants IF they are going to use the money to improve OHV opportunity. If they are going to use the money to close I am against those grants. If it is ambiguous at all, I am against those grants. [Scott Johnston - 4/3/09]
On behalf of CORVA and the California Trail Users Coalition, I would like to give my support to the grant applications submitted by the Rubicon Trail Foundation (RTF). These grants applications illustrate the cooperative arrangement and strong working relationship that the Rubicon Trail Foundation has forged with El Dorado County, to support the well-used and well-loved Rubicon Trail.
The Rubicon Trail Foundation has acknowledged both the popularity of the Rubicon Trail, and has accepted responsibility to keep the trail in the good working condition. They have also understand that user education is a critical component among their strategies to accomplish this goal. The Education & Safety application is supported by a great deal of volunteer effort, and community support. A project like this must have funds to support it's success and achieve it's intended goals. The Ground Operations Application deals with the very complicated issue of human waste, and would go a long way to insure the long term viability of the trail.
These applications present the best use of OHV trust funds, and both these applications should be funded. [Amy Granat, Northern Director, CORVA - 3/21/09]
I would like to comment on the grant application by Rubicon Trail Foundation, grant G08-04-XX-G01.
I have spent many hours in the recent past volunteering and learning from this organization and also the Friends of the Rubicon. They are the leader in responsible OHV use of the Rubicon trail and have spent years of work improving and maintaining this world renowned trail.
Due to the ruggedness, remoteness and popularity of the trail, sanitation is a big concern. Money spent on this project is a win forboth the OHV community as well as the environmental community.
I cannot find a better way to spend our OHV dollars, knowing it will have such a positive impact on environment and the recreating public. [Rick Ferdon - 3/5/09]