RTF is a 501(c)3
Non-profit Educational

Officers Biography
John Arenz-President
President Since: 2016
Board Elected: 2007
Video Message

John is married to a frequent Rubicon user, and spends about a hundred days a year on the trail.  He lives in Pollock Pines, California.  He is retired Fire Captain.  His first time on the trail was in the late seventies and he has been on the trail every year since 1983.  He started working for FOTR in 2005 and joined the board in 2007.  His responsibilities, in addition to serving as Vice President, include the Political Action Committee, the Bylaws Committee, and the Grants Committee as well as coordinating and teaching Ham radio classes.

Affiliations: ROC, Jeepers Jamboree volunteer, Rubicon Trail Partnership

Primary rig: 1977 CJ7 on 40” tires

Ken Hower-Vice President
Vice President Since: 2017
Board Elected: 2011
Video Message

Ken has been a Rubicon user since 1979. His father ran the Jeepers Jamboree in his 1953 Willys, his Grandfather ran the Jeepers Jamboree in a Willys and his 1969 Ford Bronco, his Uncle ran the trail in a 1944 Willys names High Ol Silver and his cousin ran the trail in a Bronco (The blue Submarine) and 1941 Willys. So it was only natural, that the first vehicle that he bought was a 1947 Willys CJ-2A that he still owns today. However, he is often seen on the trail in his RZR, as he represents the Green Sticker users on the trail. He began participating in saving the trail in 2004, by volunteering with the Rubicon Trail Patrol. He was then co-director of the Trail Patrol program from 2006 to 2011. In 2011, he was elected to the Rubicon Trail Foundation board. His primary interests are the political aspects of the trail and the Rubicon Trail Property that was purchased in 2010. Ken is on the Property, IT and Political Action Committees. In 2017, he was voted in Vice President of the Foundation.

He has 2 children, Monica and Kenan who both grew up on the Rubicon. His day job is a Field Readiness Architect for Workday.

Rigs: 1947 CJ-2A, RZR XP 1000

Dave Thomas-Treasurer
Treasurer Since: 2016
Board Elected: 2012

Dave was born and raised in Placerville, grew up with a love for the outdoors and a stepfather (Gary Bjork) that was active with the El Dorado Jeepherders and then in the Toys on the Rocks Off Road Club. Dave first ran the Rubicon Trail in 1980 and has not missed but a year or two since that he can remember.

Active member in the Toys on the Rocks club and the Hangtown Crawlers also enjoys being a Jamboree Cook Crew volunteer. One of his other hobbies is pit crew for KOH and Baja teams. Dave and his wife Terri own and operate the Placerville Pizza Factory, His son and daughter are also trail users and love the Sierra Nevada's.

Trail rig is a 1972 Land Cruiser FJ40 aka nightlite and 2001 Jeep TJ.


Christine Cowan-Secretary
Secretary Since: 2010
Board Elected: 2009

Chris is married to an avid dirt bike rider, and discovered the love of four wheeling with best friends.  She lives in Somerset, CA.  Her day job is a Practice Coordinator at Jackson Creek Dental.  Her first time on the trail was 20 years ago, and has been on the trail every year since. Chris’ responsibilities in addition to serving as the Secretary include, Grants Committee, Co-Chair of Black Tie & Boots Dinner and Auction, and Jeepers’ Jamboree Wine Tasting.

Primary Rig-
1952 Willy’s- CJ-3B on 37”

Aaron Nunley
Board Elected: 2014

Aaron is an ASE Master Certified Automotive Technician with thirty years of experience. He has been married to his wife, Melissa for 10 years and they have two children. Connor, will be 18 in July and can't wait to build his first Jeep. Lillian (Lilli), who just experienced the Rubicon Trail and "Real Camping" for the first time over Memorial Day weekend. As a family they love to be outdoors and experience everything that being "outside" means. They consider the Rubicon and other trails their "Happiest Place on Earth".

Aaron grew up in El Dorado and Placer counties and remembers seeing the old CJs and FJs on the streets of Placerville and Auburn and wondering "what could he do with one of those? where can they go that he couldn't" In 2003, he took Melissa on the Fordyce trail with a co-worker and his brother. From that point forward, they were both hooked. It has been eleven years in the making, but he finally feels they have a rig that can get them to and through the trail and back home safely.

Cole Sweatt
Board Elected: 2015

A Bay Area native, Cole moved to the El Dorado Hills area in 2004. 2015 marked his 15th Jeep or Jeepers Jamboree and he has enjoyed countless trips to the trail with various organizational leaders, magazine publishers and photographers over the years. Having watched RTF come to life and the countless hours of work that have been put into the fight to keep the trail open, he felt he needed to give back. He is a Commercial Real Estate broker by trade with a degree in Planning and Development from USC. Jeeps? Well, he is on his third one. As the family grew so did the need for space. His current vehicle is a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon that he drives to and from the trail. He is also a licensed Ham user and a participant in the Adopt-A-Trail program for the Rubicon Trail.

Dan DeWolf
Board Elected:
JC Jenkins
Board Elected: 2016


Jeff Blewett
Board Elected: 2014
Jonathan Carlos
Board Elected: 2016
Lori Warden
Board Elected: 2013

Lori is a life long resident of El Dorado County. She has been wheeling, mainly on the Rubicon Trail, since the early 1990's.   She is experienced in non profit fund development and was previously on the board of Placerville Elementary Education Foundation and served as President of the Board of CASA El Dorado for several years.  She was  recently installed as  Lt Governor of Kiwanis Cal Nev Ha Division 44 and will serve for one year, 2015-2016.  She worked for the Rubicon Trail Foundation in 2006, but decided that she could do more as a board member.

Matt Warden
Board Elected: 2015

Matt Warden comes to RTF with over a decade of non-profit experience specializing in finance, publicrelations, marketing and fund-raising. Matt was born and raised in El Dorado County and except for moving while in the military has lived here most of his life. He is an avid trail user and runs two Rubicon cook crews, the first being for Cantina on the Con and the second for the American Legion Jeepers Jamboree Cook Crew which is one of the American Legion Post’s larger fund raisers. He is the present Vice President for the Hangtown Crawlers and is fortunate enough to volunteer for Wheelers for the Wounded of CA a non-profit dedicated to helping Combat Veterans though Off-Road recreation.

Matt is married to a supporting wife Angela and has to wonderful children Bryce and Brianna who both have a love for the outdoors.

Matt believes in supporting the people and places that make our country great and is proud to be a director on this board.

Primary Rig: 1980 CJ-5 stretched 20” on 37’s

Rusty Folena
Past President 2013-2015
Board Elected: 2004
Video Message

Rusty is married to a very patient and understanding Rubicon Trail user and has 1 son. His history dates back to his mom and Dad being on the Rubicon Trail since the late 1950’s, and also a El Dorado County Native, for the past 29 years he has been making wine in the Shenandoah Valley. He helped start Friends of the Rubicon in 2001 and has been involved with the Rubicon since then, becoming a founding member of The Rubicon Trail Foundation in 2004. His responsibilities, in addition to serving as President, include the property committee, Quarter Master, and helping out in any other way that can help.

Affiliations: Friends Of The Rubicon, Rubicon Trail Foundation, Independent Trail user

Primary Rig What’s left of a 1980 CJ-7 stretched out and on 38”s

Sean Russell
Past President 2015-2017
Board Elected: 2012
Sean Russell a resident of El Dorado County Since 1973, grew up hunting, fishing and four wheeling in the Sierra Nevada Mountains from the age of four.   In 1997 Sean married his soul mate Ryan Lisa Russell.  Sean and his wife Ryan are local Realtors with a RE/MAX office in Pollock  Pines and the owners of Rubicon Trail Tours, a local Rubicon trail guide service.  They have been married since 1997 and have three wonderful children together, two boys and a girl.   The Russell’s are a wheeling family and together they can be found on the trail throughout the season driving everything from Jeeps to Toyotas to RZR’s and dirt bikes, everybody drives!  Sean joined the Rubicon Trail Foundation in late 2011 and served as RTF President from 2015 to 2017.
Tom Allgaier
Board Elected: 2015
Non-Voting Directors
Since the inception of the Rubicon Trail Foundation, there have been 2 Non-Voting positions that are assigned to El Dorado and Placer County in order to build a cohesive and positive relationship with trail stakeholders.
El Dorado County
Vicki Sanders

Board Elected: 2014
Placer County

Board Elected:


Rubicon Trail Foundation - Email - 1-888-6RUBICON (678-2426) - PO Box 2188, Placerville, CA 95667