Urgent letters needed for PG&E conservation easement donation around Meadow Lake/Fordyce Lake!!!

Folks, PG&E is in the last stages of a donation of property around Meadow Lake and Fordyce Lake to a conservation easement to be held by the Bear Yuba Land Trust. Most of the items in the easement plan don’t have issues with them, except for two important bits:

  • omission of the Fordyce ‘Committee Trail’ from their maps and language in the plan that do not permit off road travel on non-identified roads. The omission puts the continued use of the Committee Trail in serious jeopardy. The BYLT folks are not in the business of being in support of OHV in any form.
  • omission of camping around Fordyce Lake (which exists today and PG&E was in the process of expanding). The plan with the BYLT explicitly removes camping as a ‘beneficial public value’ as part of their conservation plan (which of course only includes ‘passive’ outdoor recreation like hiking, fishing, sightseeing,…)

They are accepting protests until Aug 31 for this plan. The BYLT folks didn’t know there was camping at Fordyce, nor did they know anything about the Committee Trail. Clearly, they haven’t really visited the area that they are getting an easement to manage.

The very large Conservation Easement plan documents are here:


Note that its in excess of 200+ pages, so its not a small document.

The other documents I reference to provide evidence of the trail/route and the camping issue are the Hydro Electric licensing environmental impact study. These are huge docs (> 1000 pages), but the important bits are:

  • FEIS Volume 2, Appendix C, page C-3 – Map displays the “Committee Trail” with an OHV symbol on it.  It also displays the proposed campground development at Fordyce Lake.
  • FEIS Volume 1
  •   Page   67 – Mentions reducing flows of Fordyce Creek to enhance OHV annual event
  •   Page 414 – OHV use in the project is recognized
  •   Page 422 – OHV use at Fordyce Lake is recognized
  •   Page 430, Table 3-211 – Indicates that OHV use is a primary activity in the Fordyce Lake area
  • Page 462-464 detailing the camping use around Fordyce Lake
  •   Page 672 – Table discusses continued management of existing trails in the Comparison of Alternatives


I’ve uploaded the letter I sent to PG&E and the CPUC to protest the omissions.




You can grab either version and add your additional comments, but please modify it in some way so it doesn’t appear like a form letter. Email & fax is good, there isn’t time to send via US mail.

Any questions, just drop me email or call me and I can explain further.

Posted in OHV Activism, Trails | Leave a comment

Club picnic – Sept 12-13

With Deer Valley closed, the annual picnic run is being relocated to Airport Flat campground at the Rubicon. More details in the meeting next week from Trailboss John.

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Deer Valley

Deer Valley Meadow Restoration and Blue Lakes/Meadow Lake Road Maintenance Project

Deer Valley 4wd Meadow Restoration and Blue Lakes/Meadow Lake Road Maintenance Project

The Amador Ranger District has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Deer Valley 4wd Trail and Blue Lakes/Meadow Lake Road Project. 

Public Comments concerning this action will be accepted for 30 calendar days following publication of the notice in the Mountain Democrat (expected on August 14, 2015). 

Please see the attached letter for further information. The EA and supporting 
documentation are available at: Forest Service . 

If you would like a paper copy of the EA and/or supporting documents please contact Matt Brown.

Matt Brown 
South Zone Botanist
Forest Service 
Eldorado National Forest
p: 530-642-5110 

100 Forni Road 
Placerville, CA 95667
US Forest Service


Also look at http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/land-use-issues/2131426-deer-valleymeadow-restoration-blue-lakes-meadow-lake-road-maintenance-project.html

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Drone Search & Rescue

Apparently we needed to expand our search grid. The South County folks found it down by the lake where the water truck fills up. It was in one piece and Don Spuhler is going to bring it to us. Thanks for the help.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

August club roster posted

The Madhatters club roster has been updated with the July meeting’s new member, Amber.  The roster is available in both PDF and XLS formats.  Please let me know if you have changes for your entry (address, email, phones, rig picture, ham info, rig mods, etc).

Find the updated roster in the Madhatters web site’s Members section.  Sign in using your Madhatter web site credentials.  If you don’t remember your credentials then send Art or Darrel an email and one of us will get you setup.

Posted in Club Business | 1 Comment

July 2015 meeting notes and audio

Audio recording of July 2015 meeting available here: http://madhatters4x4.com/blog1/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/July-2015-Meeting.mp3


Highlights from meeting:

  • Trip report from July Lower Fordyce run – the 16 hour ‘day run’ (“The Longest Day” or “The Fordyce Death March”) – in at 9:30am, out at 2am. John & Art highly misjudged the rate of travel with the group and we got to WH2 as the sun was setting. From there to the top of Committee took another 4 hours. Ugh. Mostly minor carnage: Sherry – two tires de-beaded & rocker panel dents. Amber – dented oil pan and shredded front drive shaft boot. Gary – broken front axle.Tony – seized rear locker. Lisa – failed front u-joint by the time she made it home. There was no welding required or any major recovery needed. Ok, Larry needed to be winched off a few tree roots/stump, but its a Bronco thing :-)
  • Tom isn’t able to make it to Trek to run the raffle – had to go in for emergency surgery for a detached retina.  We got it handled with Dave/Rene/Art/John/Kurt/Terry, etc.
  • Sierra Trek coming up next week. Kurt/Terry, Dave Jones, Rene, etc will be up this Friday/Saturday to tape off our section and set up tents. For folks doing the Thurs run, we have 10 rigs signed up. Plan is to meet at Jones’ cabin Weds nite, grill/bbq dinner there and get a decent nites sleep. For Thurs we will skip staging and head in before the rest of the groups via the Indian Springs entrance. Art is going to do some photography/video  so we need to be out in front to do this.
  • Barrett Lake is open again, so we are going to try to get a weekend in Sept to run it. August looks filled  with other clubs swarming there.
  • Cantina coming up over Labor Day weekend – its a good event to help with the trail.
  • Sept picnic – Deer Valley is still closed. Looks like the plan is going to be to camp at Airport Flats and play on the Rubicon and check out our Adopt-a-Trail section the same weekend.
  • Slick Rock in October is still on. Chris will have final plans for the August meeting.
  • Thanksgiving week trip to the desert – looking at options including Panamint, Calico, Johnson Valley/Stoddard Valley. George inquired about Saline Valley, but the nudity around the hot tubs in Saline might be an issue for folks with kids or weak stomachs.
  • Amber voted in as a member. Welcome Amber!
  • Boner award – where to start with all the ‘fun’ on the July Fordyce run. Nominees: Larry for having his Bronco almost flopped by some tree roots (and roots that even Sherry was able to clear :-), Art&John for really bad trail time planning for the Fordyce run, and Amber for her balancing on a boulder on the WH1 bypass. Larry won it by one vote!
  • Easter Jeep Safari next March – the campground that John & Rene wanted to go back to starts taking reservations Aug 1. Rene will send mail out with the details.
  • Voted on proposal by Art to have the club cover group camping fees for events, including club runs (like Trek and the Chalet rental @ Loon Lake for the Rubicon run), work parties where we have to pay for group camping. It would not cover Larry’s hotel costs or individual camping fees like at Cisco Grove. Motion passed. Treasurer will manage the budgeting of this annually and raise any issues if they come up, but we won’t keep voting on these individual expenditures any longer.
  • Dennis mentioned whether we wanted to try to host a club hospitality room at Convention next year. Cal4 apparently had issues with clubs serving alcohol and that won’t be happening again, so not clear whether we’d get people in the room without booze. In any case, it appears the host hotel is out of suite rooms anyway.
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July club roster posted

The Madhatters club roster has been updated with our two newest members.  The roster is available in both PDF and XLS formats.  Please let me know if you have changes for your entry (address, email, phones, rig picture, ham info, rig mods, etc).

Find the updated roster in the Madhatters web site’s Members section.  Sign in using your Madhatter web site credentials.  If you don’t remember your credentials then send Art or Darrel an email and one of us will get you setup.

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1) Sierra Trek registration is due July 22nd. Please let me know if you have any questions.

2) Madhatter gear order being placed. I have just sent an email with the link. Let me know what you need.


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Definitive answer on ARB pressure

from an email by Dennis.
——– ——– ——– ——–

I thought some of you might like to know this.

Here’s a good link to how to rebuild an ARB locker.  The problems they found are exactly what I found in mine.  Parts are on order.

I sent a query to ARB Tech (see below).  I had heard different stories about what pressure range to use with the locker, compared with the instructions I had from 2007.  So their guy gave me an answer I like:

Hey Dennis,

When installing a new bonded seal or O-rings I coat them with gear oil (80/90w).
The pressure for locker activation is good between 85 and 150 psi. For years it was 70-100 but we have found through competition use that they are good up to 150psi. Beyond that the solenoid will start to leak off at about 170-180psi. The higher pressure gives a better “punch” to the clutch gear for engagement and stronger pressure to stay engaged.

Hope this helps

——– Forwarded Message ——–


I find myself rebuilding an RD116 in my Jeep after 8 years of pretty easy usage.  But I have a couple of questions:

1)  What lubricant should I use on the new bonded seal?

2)  The installation instructions (that I saved!) say that the minimum air pressure is 85 psi and the maximum is 105 psi.  But I have found more than one website that says they should use no less than 100 psi, but are OK up to 150 psi.  Can you enlighten me about this?  I have Kilby onboard air that cycles from 140 psi to 120 psi, and have had two regulators fail that were set to 95 psi, so would like to eliminate the regulator.

Thanks, Dennis

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June 2015 meeting audio now available

June 2015 audio available here to download: http://madhatters4x4.com/blog1/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/June-2015-Meeting.mp3

Meeting highlights:

  •  June was a busy month with Rubicon, Livermore Parade and Fordyce work weekend
  •  Rubicon trip went great
    • 18 rigs total (members + guests), including a guest from Canada (Pierre & Suzanne)
    • no major problems and weather cooperated (mostly). And we left the Chalet on time, shortly after 7am. Probably a Madhatter record :-)
    • Minor breakage (Craig – motor mount, Dennis – steering trackbar), but little else
  • Livermore Parade was well attended – about 14 rigs
  • Fordyce work party
    • John & Rene, Art, Dennis, Gary, Tom, Mike, Jenni & Bill, Larry, Kurt & Terry helped out
    • Between Tom’s trailer & FoF Toyota pickup, we got ~20 loads of rock to fill the mud hole and seasonal creek
    • Larry’s rear locker blew up on the way back up winch hill 5, but work parties are boner free events
  • Boner nominations
    • Pierre honorary nomination for various things on the Rubicon
    • Craig for breaking down again in the granite bowl (Tom nominated)
    • Chris for wallowing in the mud pit past Rubicon Springs (Art nominated)
    • John for forgetting the keys for his Jeep he towed to the parade (Bill nominated)
    • Winner: John!
  • July run
    • Barrett Lake is closed til August, Barney Riley has a fire running across it right now
    • Plan C was between Niagara Rim/Swamp Lake/lower Fordyce area.
    • Folks mostly preferred lower Fordyce, camping at Cisco Grove. Rene will send update out in email about camping there in the next 24 hrs.
  • Sierra Trek coming up – committee registration due soon
    • Help with raffle solicitation is needed – Tom distributed list for folks to help with
  • Sending flag options to folks to get feedback
  • Nicknames
    • Larry was nominated to be LLL (Leave the Lights on Larry) in honor of his recent preference to camp at hotels in Truckee for a couple trips now. Other suggestions were Leisure Suit Larry, Luxury Larry
  • Rene is placing an order in 2 weeks for t-shirts/hats/jackets – order now to have by Trek. Check out  www.sanmar.com and let her know.


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