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How it All Started

Before The Club became incorporated, its members used to get together for outings and outdoor activities dating back to September 1953.  They enjoyed 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.

On March 18, 1954 The Club was incorporated and given the name of "Four wheel Drive Club of Western America".  In the beginning the charter members held meetings in the back yard of Ernest Trautwein, the Clubs 1st President. There were originally about 35 to 40 members, although this have never been officially recorded and was the recollection of some of it's founding members.

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.  The Club, nor its members, were allowed compete in any way with the commercial packers, but tried to make this country available to those who cannot afford the rental or purchase of horse and hiring of commercial guides.


The Club had business type cards which say, " You have been helped by a member of the 4WDCFresno and were given out when a member helps a stranded motorist or another Four Wheeler out of a problem.


On 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.

The Club built and maintained 10 trails in its early days:

  1. Bald Mountain

  2. Brewer Lake

  3. Coyote Lake

  4. Dusy-Ershim

  5. Mirror Lake

  6. Red Lake

  7. Spanish Lake

  8. Strawberry Lake

  9. Swamp Lake

  10. West Lake

Currently, the club still maintains Dusy-Ershim, Swamp Lake, Red Lake, Coyote Lake, West Lake, and Strawberry Lake trails.  The other trails are maintained by other local four-wheel drive clubs in the area per the USFS Adopt-a-Trail agreements.

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