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Monday, October 15, 2012

El Dorado County: Rubicon Trail OHV limited winter patrols

The Off Road Vehicle Season is Winding Down

 Soon the rains will be upon us and snow will be falling in the high country. With the changing weather the use of the Rubicon Trail will also change. The Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) season is winding down, but Sheriff John D'Agostini will continue to provide winter patrols on the trail as needs demand. 

El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Jeep (OHV)
El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Jeep OHV
"There will be limited and sporadic patrols through the winter", said the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office OHV Program supervisor, Sergeant Bill Wilson. 
Sergeant Wilson contributed this to the presence and effectiveness of ongoing education efforts by Deputies and State Park Rangers who have been patrolling the trail over the last few years. 

 Through almost 900 hours of dedicated service the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office OHV Deputies came into contact with 6300 people and watched 2900 vehicles pass over the trail. Deputies conducted 4 search and rescue operations and numerous trail education presentations. With all these contacts only 1 citation and 234 warnings were issued for minor violations. No arrests were necessary. 

 Throughout the season there are multiple large events with attendance ranging from 150 to 500 vehicles. Although the Rubicon Trail experienced a relatively safe season, there was one tragic incident during one of the events.
 This year one of the events was celebrating it's 60th year and there was a large participant turnout. Approximately 1800 participants and crew were present in the remote Rubicon Springs camp area. Unfortunately, at one point several participants left the event and drove their Jeep north on the trail, eventually rolling the vehicle over an embankment. One party was released at the scene and two were transported by air ambulance to Sacramento area trauma centers with serious injuries. The driver of the vehicle later died as a result of her injuries. The accident started a wildland fire which was fought for several days by USFS crews.The fire burned approximately two acres and caused a road/trail closure, delaying the completion of the event. 
 El Dorado County Sheriff D'Agostini is committed to minimizing the dangers of the trail, protecting our natural resources and providing a safe environment for OHV enthusiasts and Rubicon Trail visitors to enjoy their activities. The Sheriff's OHV Unit is already making plans to increase educational and enforcement efforts next year in support of the Sheriff's goals.

Department: El Dorado County Sheriff Lt. Tim Becker
Contact: Phone#: 530-621-7652

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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