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| Josh Epstein, Cal4Wheel President | Latest News

Update from the president - August 25, 2022

My apologies for getting this out later than planned. To be honest, it’s been a busy few weeks since I last put an update out and I’m just finally slowing down enough to update you all once again.

I recently returned home from attending the August board of directors meeting at the association office in Sacramento. It was a very productive weekend, well, weekday since we got about two days’ worth of work done on Saturday, which is awesome for a slew of different reasons but personally for me, I was able to leave early Sunday morning (like 2AM) and was home early enough to spend time with the family all day Sunday. I want to thank all the board of directors for their continued hard work and persistence in making this association better than it was yesterday. Being a board member isn’t easy sometimes and it’s even harder when you have a president who wants to make everything better and more efficient.

The morning started off with standard board reports and such, followed by lunch provided by the Bramhams, and I gaveled the meeting around 5PM. We worked on communications, simplifying processes within the association, training within the board and a slew of other topics from how Sierra Trek 2022 performed and how the High Sierra Poker Run is next weekend and a potential of a new event in the Goffs, California area (more information will be coming about that soon). We discussed new insurance requirements imposed by the BLM – going from a required $2 million liability to $3 million liability and so on. The board went above and beyond, worked very well with everyone and I feel was very productive. There will be more about the board meeting and what was discussed coming soon in a different update – I just have too much to go over this time around since just before the board meeting, I was up at the 65th annual Sierra Trek!

Not sure how I scheduled the board meeting right after Trek, but I did. Sierra Trek was phenomenal this year! A special thanks to John and Rene Allen for chairing this year’s (and next year’s) event! Trek is a living, breathing monster that most attendees have zero idea of the logistics and manpower required to put it on. An equal thanks to each and every volunteer who went above and beyond to make this event very successful. I personally left Hemet around 3AM as to arrive at Meadow Lake early to setup camp and maybe partake in the infamous Goats Milk – well, after making the wrong turn coming up Meadow Lake road and following my new friends from Oregon (who were also misled by their navigation) we traveled up some roads where I wouldn’t have taken my truck by itself, let alone a truck, trailer and my Jeep. Long story short, I got stuck once, they helped me with that and eventually we ran into a Isuzu full of foreigners who advised that there is no way you’re taking a truck and trailer much farther up the road, so we made a decision to suck up our pride and head back down the nature trail from hell – just about 7 miles to the main road, where I remembered the correct road and led us back into camp around 6PM or so.

After recanting my story here and there to some would be listeners, I was informed that this won’t be the last time either and I heard stories of motorhomes suffering the same fate. I will say that Jim Bramham’s work along with the immense help from a dedicated group of volunteers who worked tirelessly on the road where the main issues are normally, did a fantastic job. That road (in my opinion) sucks anyways, no matter how much work you put into it, but it was far better than last year – thank you very much for all that work!

Once I found civilization and set up camp, I was floored by the attendance and comradery at the event. Thank you very much to all that sacrificed time to help cook, clean and prep for cooking – the food was amazing! Thank you to everyone who worked their tails off in the snack booth and the bar – everyone enjoyed the cross of alcohol and nachos with a side of root beer float if you desired such, which I did, a couple of times. I will even add that even at 9AM, the steadfast workers at the bar didn’t judge you (out loud) about ordering cocktails. I hear the trail runs went very well with some small issues here and there that the Trek Crew is working on resolving but overall, everyone had a great time on the trails with only minor breaks and everyone made it back to camp rather unscathed, other than some hurt pride. The raffle was a huge success! Thank you to everyone that came and bought tickets, bid at the silent auction, and donated prizes! I don’t have official numbers yet, but I hear we set some records! I can’t say this enough but THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS! Many hands make light work, and this event would be nothing if it weren’t for all the people who went above and beyond to make it happen! John and Rene ordered some fantastic weather for the duration and overall, Trek 2022 was an amazing success! Well, except for around 2AM on Sunday when the 20th or so pair of headlights lit up my tent – see, my kids first week of school falls on Trek and I didn’t want to pull them on their first week, so I came solo, unsupervised for the weekend and decided to bring a tent and keep it simple. It seemed like a great idea until Sunday morning, but not a huge deal, it’s tent camping and it’s Sierra Trek. I just got up and packed the rest of my things and left early thinking that I would be home ‘earlyish’ knowing it’s a 12-13 hour drive regardless. On my way out, second guessed myself and made a wrong turn, again... A mile down this road, I had the feeling ‘this isn’t the right road’ and I was right. No big deal, I’ll just back up a mile or so, in the dark, with a trailer, by myself – I hear they call it character building. Got back on the correct road, found asphalt, watched the most beautiful sunrise heading into Tahoe and spent the next 10 or so hours thinking about next Trek and how I can’t wait for it...

It hasn’t been all road trips and tent camping tho, I have been busy attending every online meeting I can, which seems to be a lot and its nice being able to still work on paying my bills yet working on behalf of Cal4Wheel also. I attended the Sustainable Recreation Stakeholders meeting on August 18, very informative meeting that we broke out into small groups and discussed recreation and wildfires. I also attended the CORVA board of directors meeting via Zoom on behalf of Cal4Wheel. Like I said before, we are ALL in this fight together and showing solidarity between all the groups fighting this fight and working together is very important. I should add that CORVA was invited to Trek this year and had a booth present. I was asked to discuss Trek and how Cal4Wheel is doing, which I obliged. On August 23, I attended via Zoom, the OHV Safety Summit which was incredible! Long story short, SxS’s are here to stay and a slew of people from a slew of different organizations were present discussing training, safety concerns, how to address those and a slew of other concerns and did all of this with the participation of State Parks, CHP, BLM and many more! We worked in smaller groups and one point then continued to work together in a large quorum. This meeting is one of many, I hope. There was so much progression and everyone working together for once, which I really enjoyed, and I also felt this was unbelievably productive and have been working with the same people via email since that meeting. We need to work together in this fight, there is no other option and this meeting showed, without a doubt, that we can all put aside our differences and different affiliations for one goal, keeping public land public!

In closing I wanted to talk about our very own Natural Resource Consultant, Rose Winn. I have been getting phone call after phone call from other organizations about Rose and the great work she is doing. I wanted to publicly thank Rose for all of her hard work and remind you all, if you have an land use issue close to your heart, don’t be afraid to let Rose know.

Well, I need to finish getting ready for High Sierra Poker Run. Somehow, the Rochas shanghaied me into leading the Mirror Lake run – mind you, I have never been to Mirror Lake before, so, I’m sure it will one for the books. I hope to see you all at HSPR in a week!

…. Till the next update



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