Celebrating 50 Years


1959 - 1962
1962 - 2015
California Four Wheel Drive Association logo
2015 - Current

Cal4Wheel's history: 50 years in the making

Written by Jack Raudy in honor of Cal4Wheel's 50th anniversary in 2009

Early Years

1959 was a momentous and pivotal year. Fidel Castro became prime minister of Cuba. Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union as U.S. states. Rock’n’roll was heating up the airwav...

Ed Dunkley - 1921-2001

The history of the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs and the passion of Ed Dunkley are synonymous. Dunkley was one of the original members of the association, office administrator...
Jack Edwards at his desk

Natural Resource Consultants

Today the association has full-time, paid natural resource consultants who cover state and federal issues. They monitor legislation and the state’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Div...

1970's usher in many new events

The association and many of its member clubs kicked off many new runs and events during the 70’s. In 1970, the Hi-Landers started their poker run to the historic town of Washington. The fol...

Community Outreach

Since its founding in 1959 and continuing through today, the association is committed to keeping public lands open for people who not only go four-wheeling, but also those who enjoy hunting, fis...
Image of the 1972 Hi Desert Round-Up event program

Major association events

There are six major association sponsored events held all over the state during the year. They are Winter Fun Festival, Molina Ghost Run, Hi Desert Round-Up, Sierra Trek, Operation Desert Fun and P...
Cal4Wheel Conservation & Education Foundation logo

Association's Conservation & Education Foundation

The California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs’ Conservation & Education Foundation was formed as a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation is 1989 with a mission to develop programs in the area...
Off-Road Voyager's logo

Off-Highway Voyagers

Recognizing the need for interesting and educational activities for its children, the association in cooperation with the Foundation founded the Off Highway Voyagers program to teach youth of all a...
Four-wheelers check their vehicles to ensure they are safe


Since its inception in 1959 through the present day, safety has always been a paramount concern for the association. Safety experts conduct mandatory safety inspections for all vehicles participati...
Cover of a 1973 In Gear magazine

In Gear

Since its formation in 1959, the association has had a publicity committee and various forms of trade publications to keep members informed.
Sacramento Cal4Wheel office building

CA4WDC 50 Years Later

Today, the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs has a membership of more than 3,600 members. If you consider family members in addition to paid members, the total membership is more tha...
1959 - 2009

Oceano SVRA

A history of the Friends of Oceano

Jim Bramham, Cal4Wheel Past President

Over the years there have been many versions of history about Friends of Oceano.

In the early 1990's I had been working very closely with State Parks, SLO County and the Coastal Commission to bring about positive management at then Pismo SVRA.

In Gear page from November 1993 showing the formation of Friends of Oceano

Friends of Oceano Formation

November 1993
Page from December 1993 In Gear showing report about Friends of Oceano

First Friends of Oceano meeting held

December 1993
December 2000 cover of Cal4Wheel's In Gear magazine

Tours for the locals

December 2000
Page from June 2001 In Gear showing Friends of Oceano group revitalized

Friends of Oceano revitalized

June 2001

Parks wanted a grassroots movement to find a way for visitors and local and regional business to be a part of the management equation for the dunes. Local park support was at a low and this avenue was intended to boost acceptance of the park and the positive contributions visitors make to the area.

Ed Waldheim of CORVA, Jerry Johnson of Parks and I met with the Poly Goats 4x4 Club of Cal Poly SLO to find a way to enhance this effort. It was decided to expand the movement and launch Friends of Pismo!

I dug out some old In Gears to find the history in print. There are two articles from 1993 when I was President of Cal4. One speaks of the founding meeting where Cal4 accepted the leadership role with then natural Resource Consultant Gene Struebing being appointed lead and Suzy Johnson doing the recordkeeping and database. The other is from Gene's article the next month outlining the success of our first effort with a post card campaign. Very little internet in 1993!

Friends of Pismo continued for seven years with success after success, culminating in the three-way acceptance between Parks, SLO County and the California Coastal Commission (CCC) on Carrying Capacity for the Park. This set visitor and camping limits for the Park. During this time, issues around Oso Flaco lake and coastal access to the area south of the Park were settled. The front-page cover shot from 2000 is a Free Admission Day at the Park where Friends led dune tours for locals and the press to showcase the balanced management at the newly renamed park Oceano Dunes SVRA. This was at a time when bird issues were at the top of the list.

Our last success was the establishment of a technical review team that was fashioned after the highly successful ones at Dumont Dunes and Glamis.

With my appointment to the OHV Commission, the conflict of interest caused me to have to hand off the Friends of Oceano to Ed Waldheim. His recruitment of Jim Suty in 2001 opened a new chapter for the organization. The fourth article is about their revitalization of the existing efforts.

It has taken monumental efforts for many people and organizations to keep Oceano open. Cal4 has been at the forefront of these efforts with leadership, volunteers, and funding.

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