Monday, July 9, 2012

Rubicon Trail Law Enforcement in a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

El Dorado County's Sheriff's Office has just issued a press release regarding a much-appreciated upgrade to the patrol of Eldorado National Forest's world-famous Rubicon Trail.  The improved program provides a well-equipped Jeep Wrangler Rubicon to Deputy Tim Peterson to allow him to patrol in cooperation with OHV Community-based volunteer patrols.  California's most popular backcountry area now has the recognition and public service it deserves.

Deputy Petersen is a terrific asset to the Sheriff's Department and the citizens of - and visitors to - El Dorado County.

OHV recreationists and Nature-lovers have now officially teamed up full-time with our local law enforcement officers to preserve and protect the Rubicon Trail for everyone's enjoyment.  This is an important step in the fight to keep the anti-access faux-environmentalist groups from succeeding in their quest to lock the public out of these public lands. has a thread in their forum discussing this.  The official press release follows:

Full Time Law Enforcement Hits the Rubicon Trail

El Dorado County Sheriff D’Agostini has created a new position and assigned a full time Deputy Sheriff to Patrol the Rubicon Trail 40 Hours every week during the OHV season. In the past most of the staffing for the Rubicon Trail was on overtime, and was limited by grant funds.  Limited funding comes from a grant through California State Parks who also have Park Rangers patrolling the trail. With concerns that grant funding may diminish in the future.  Sheriff John D’Agostini and El Dorado County District 3 Board of Supervisor Jack Sweeney, both avid four-wheelers, worked closely to secure other sources of funding such as the Infrastructure Mitigation Fund provided by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). When finalized, the fund will provide for continued seasonal patrol staffing of two deputies and the maintenance of their equipment.

Sheriff D’Agostini said “Four-wheelers come to the Rubicon Trail from all over the country, to enjoy the beautiful Sierra Nevada,” and “ This full time position will increase public education and trail safety.”

The Sheriff’s Off Highway Vehicle Patrol (OHV) Unit started in 2001 with the purchase of four All Terrain Vehicles (ATV’s, also known as Quads), and related equipment from a California State Parks OHV Grant and also with funds from Off Highway Vehicle (Green Sticker) Registration.  The primary purpose of the OHV unit is to provide patrol, education, and enforcement services to users of the Rubicon Trail recreation area, and to bring the trail back to a safe enjoyable status.  In 2007 the Sheriff’s Office purchased a Jeep Rubicon Wrangler to use for enforcement on the trail, as well as other remote areas of the county.  Through several stages of build-up, the Jeep is currently well equipped for its intended purpose.
District 3 Supervisor Sweeney said “I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office cooperating with the law enforcement units of the State OHV Division, California Highway Patrol and the US Forest Service in providing guidance to the users of the Rubicon Trail that will make such use safe and enjoyable. “ 

Deputy Tim Peterson was recently assigned to the OHV Unit for the summer season, which runs from May through September. He has been very busy so far with over 400 citizen contacts and over 200 persons assisted.  Deputy Peterson spends his entire work week patrolling the trail and maintaining his vehicle.  The type of service the Jeep is subject to requires extensive maintenance and monitoring to ensure minimal breakage, expense, and downtime.

Deputy Peterson works closely with other agencies that have an interest in the Rubicon Trail. Numerous clubs and organizations, such as the Rubicon Trail Foundation, coordinate efforts with law enforcement and property owners to ensure safe and continued use of the Rubicon Trail.  Peterson partners directly with California State Parks law enforcement officers daily to perform patrols.  Officers often camp on the trail on their work days so they can be in the area and available at all hours of the day and night.
The primary concerns of law enforcement are safety related.  The majority of injuries and accidents on the trail are alcohol related.  Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and other alcohol related offenses are a high priority for Enforcement Officers on the trail.  Natural resource damage, registration violations, equipment violations, and other violations are closely scrutinized as well.  One of the most important and most common activities for OHV Deputies to engage in is public awareness and education.  The Sheriff’s Office is working in conjunction with numerous local, state and federal agencies to manage OHV recreation so an enjoyable and safe experience can be provided for Rubicon Trail visitors and OHV enthusiasts.

Tread lightly, leave no trace, and enjoy the ride.

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