Rubicon picking up where it left off

Barbara Lawlor, Nederland.  Team Rubicon is no fly by night operation. Once it begins a project, it sees it through to the end, getting as much pleasure from doing it as getting it done.

Last year, after the Cold Springs Fire had come and gone, Team Rubicon crews arrived to help residents and property owners clear their land of dangerous black timber and ash that covered the Ridge Road subdivisions. They spent weekends at Les Karplus’s property on Sherwood, either camping in tents or sleeping in cots inside a building on his property.

It was hot, sweaty, grimy work and after many hours and many days, one could see areas of progress but it was obvious there was much more work to be done.


Winter set in, the ground froze, whiteness covered the black landscape and everyone took a break from the arduous, but satisfying, labor. This spring, the snow cover lasted well into May and the cool weather and moisture halted the growth of shrubbery and flowers.

In July, the land began to recover and by August, wildflowers poked their cheerful heads through the gummy blackness of the burn area.


It was time to return.


Two weeks ago, 40 Rubicon Team members showed up in Nederland ready to continue what they began the preceding fall. A call went out to the community to donate meals, side dishes and drinks to the hard-working volunteers that spent the weekend cutting down, delimiting, stacking and chipping the remnants of the forest.

At night, many of the volunteers slept on cots in the Nederland Community Center Gymnasium. Although, once again, they put a dent into the devastation, one of the team members said he suspected that it will be a couple of years before they can consider the job completed.


In the meantime, they are setting role model examples of how much a few people can make a difference in the lives of total strangers, in a community where their team name will never be forgotten.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.