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Rubicon Trail among nation’s top off-road runs

Julie Brown
Nevada Appeal News Service

Out of the countless trails for off-highway vehicles in North America, Lake Tahoe’s renowned Rubicon Trail on Aug. 18 will be named one of the year’s six nationally recognized Outstanding Trails.

On Saturday, BFGoodrich Tires with Tread Lightly! and the United Four Wheel Drive Association will present a $4,000 grant to the volunteer group Friends of the Rubicon and the nonprofit Rubicon Trail Foundation to help keep the West Shore trail active and open, said John Ewert, a senior executive of BFGoodrich’s public relations firm.

The grant is part of the tire company’s Outstanding Trails award program.

“We recognized (the Rubicon Trail) for its scenic views and challenging obstacles. It’s a perfect fit,” Ewert said. “It’s sort of legendary for off-riding.”

Trail Boss Del Albright said the Rubicon Trail has received close to $500,000 in grants from government agencies and individual donations over the past seven years – making the $4,000 grant a drop in the bucket.

But Albright said the Outstanding Trails award is not about the money, but the national recognition.

“It’s not the money in this case, it’s the recognition of the investment of time or people that use the trail and who have wrapped their arms around it and say, ‘This is mine and I’m going to take care of it,'” Albright said. “It’s a very notable compliment in our history of seven years on the trail.”

When considering the thousands of miles of trails in North America, Albright compared the Rubicon’s selection to “the Boy Scout troop that gets picked out of the nation for being the best troop.”

And he believes the honor is well-deserved.

Albright founded the Friends of the Rubicon seven years ago. The completely volunteer group has since invested 20,000 hours of labor into maintaining environmental stewardship of the trail and providing user education.

More than 300 volunteers regularly contribute their time constructing sediment traps, such as rock beds, crossings over water or rolling dips to control erosion, Albright said.

Volunteers also patrol the trail or staff the trail’s informational kiosk that provides users with information about controlling the human impact on the trail.

“That’s one of our main missions – to teach people stewardship of the trail,” Albright said.

The Friends of the Rubicon receives most of its support from the Rubicon Trail Foundation, a nonprofit organization that equips volunteers with whatever necessities they may need.

“The Rubicon Trail is legendary in the world of off-roading because it has the perfect combination of obstacles, a long-standing history within the community and unrivaled views making it a special fit for the 2007 Outstanding Trails program,” said Joe Mazur of BFGoodrich Tires. “We’re honored to partner with (Friends of the Rubicon) and (Rubicon Trail Foundation) to help in the conservation efforts for this amazing off-road trail.”

Trails in British Columbia, Indiana, Oregon, Colorado and Montana will also be recognized in the 2007 Outstanding Trails program.