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With nearly 20,000 documented hours of volunteer work time, the Friends of the Rubicon (FOTR) have set new records for keeping a trail alive and well! 2006 was another spectacular year with our final work weekend being August 19-20 with 80 volunteers hard at work.
FOTR started in 2001 when rumor hit the Internet that a gate was going up on the Tahoe side. We said NO GATE and FOTR launched full blown into history to save the trail and keep it OUR trail.
Since those days FOTR has grown to be the strongest and most active volunteer force imaginable, with a substantial amount of political clout. With no dues and only one meeting a year, people are amazed what FOTR can do. Every year we achieve new heights in projects, management and involvement.
2006 was one of our best years yet. In June we had two major work weekends. One weekend in July, we worked extensively on the Tahoe side. And in August, we had our big work weekend to develop erosion control measures on and near Walker Hill of the Rubicon Trail. Projects included construction of a log bridge with rock abutments; closed off bypasses; a log ramp built at the base of the hill; construction of erosion measure water bars; and general trail maintenance.
We ended the workday with a huge Mexican food buffet sponsored by Hummer and put on for us by Robbs Resort (www.dorobbs.com). Hummer has been a generous donor to the trail this year, and holds the title as the first manufacturer to donate directly to the Rubicon Trail Foundation and FOTR. THANK you Hummer.
FOTR prides itself in getting the job done while having fun - and being productive. Every task is clearly laid out and properly planned. Every volunteer has a job and gets credit for the work they do. We use the Recreational Incident Command System (RICS) as developed by the author to ensure our projects come off organized, safe and productive. Most all team leaders within FOTR have had some sort of leadership training, either one of the author's courses, or some form of business leadership training. It makes a difference to the end result. People walk away feeling satisfied and productive after an FOTR project.
FOTR is truly a team effort. By using specialized email networks and lists, we ensure communications are on going and thorough. All opinions count. There are no Robert's Rules of Order, no formal bureaucratic structure and no delegates. With the help of (www.pirate4x4.com), we share opinions and ideas on the Rubicon Trail Talk forum. Anyone can chime in and help.
We do rely heavily on our Team Leaders and email network administrators to provide the leadership that is sorely needed in our sport. Each level of leadership provides clear expectations and objectives to those on their Team. For the most part, leadership is earned in FOTR - not given. FOTR folks earn their place in line by hard work and a demonstrated passion to help.
In addition to FOTR, we have developed a separate 501.C3 non-profit educational foundation called the Rubicon Trail Foundation. This Foundation intends to raise money and help support FOTR and the Rubicon Trail into the future. Eventually we hope to buy land as funds become available. FOTR and the Foundation work hand in hand to keep the Rubicon Trail our icon of four-wheeling.
The prospects for a solid, lasting, well-maintained Rubicon Trail have never been better.
--Del Albright is a former member of the BlueRibbon Coalition Board of Directors. He now serves as the BRC Ambassador. For questions or comments on this article or related issues, he may be contacted through the BRC main office: 4555 Burley Drive, Suite A, Pocatello, ID 83202. Phone: 208-237-1008, Fax: 208-237-9424. Email