History of The Four Wheel Drive Club of Fresno
Trail Signs Built By Dick Haas#669
The Names of our Founding Members
- Ernest Trautwein
- Dick Roberts
- Reuban Lemke
- Sam Winchester
- Gerald Sabroe
- Gill Stolzman
280. Alvin(Budd) Muchinson
The Date The Club was Formed:
March 18, 1954
The Founding Members in Question Formed the Club.
In March, 1954 The Club was incorporated and given the name of "Four wheel Drive Club of Western American".
Before it became incorporated, your wheelers used to get together for outings and outdoor activities dating back to September 1953.
In the begining the charter members held meeting in the back yard of Ernest Trautwein, the Clubs 1st President. There were originally about 35 to 40 members (This have never been offically recorded) .
The objectives of the Club were to work with the U.S. Forest service to obtain permission to travel over existing trails in the sierras, and to be permitted to build additional trails.
April 24, 1963
The name of the Club was amended to read:
"Four Wheel Drive Club of Fresno, INC"
121 of the 176 members singed the consent form.
A very active and early members account of when and why the club was formed.
History of Four Wheel Drive Club of Fresno.
Organized March 18, 1954.
Was known then by Four Wheel Drive Club of Western America
I Carl Snaverly believe there is only one older Four Wheel Drive Club which is in Washington State.
The Club was formed by a few people that were going to the mountains with the war surplus Four Wheel Drives, which at the time were mostly jeeps. Make by Willy Co., Ford Co., for the military use.
At the time you could go anywhere as there were no restrictions on cross country travel. This ws one of the main reasons for the club, was to put in organized trails in the back country, and work withe the forest service, so these routes could be organized as a established trail with markings.
The Club nor its members could not compete in any was the commercial packers, but to make this country available to those who cannot afford the rental or purchase of horse and hiring of commercial guides.
The Club has business type cards which say, " You have been helped by a member of the 4WDCFresno.
These are given out when a member helps stranded motorist or another Four Wheeler out of a problem.
Carl Snaverly #578, Holder of many titles throughout his tenure with the Club.
in conjunction with the above history, I recieved additional information:
When building the trails, the club had sign an agreement with the back country horsemen , that we could not charge to take horsemen on trials.
Dick Haas, still a very active member and recipient of the "Bozzy Willis Award"
John Skadden, #198 also made mention of the above.
The accomplishments of this Club are many.
The Club Built and Maintained 10 Trails:
The Life of a Trail:
The vehicle way in the spring of 1956 was started out from badger flats, by the Four Wheel Drive Club of Fresno, the first summer Ershim Lake was reached.
Then in 1957 Cabin Camp was reached. In 1958 all the vehicle ways on the forest were taken away from the people by the Forest Superintendent of the Sierra National Forest. In 1959 the Club regained part of the vehicle ways on the forest by writing their congressman. The Superintendent of the forest did take the vehicle way from badger flats to Ershim meandows and made it into a equestrian trial. At that time the club put in the vehicle way from the top of Kaiser pass by way of Lakecamp Lake on to Ershim Lake. In 1960 and 1961 the trail was take to Thompson Lake by way of Rodeo Meadow and Hot Spings Pass. Then in 1967 a trail was taken from Courtright Dam to the North end of Dusy Meadow. In 1968 the trail was taken on to Thompson Lake to make the longest way on the sierra national forest.
The 33 mile trail today is know and the Dusy Trail.
Original Author Don Dobson Four Wheel Drive Club of Fresno Member # 531
More information to come......