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Jim Bramham

Jim Bramham

“A Walking Encyclopedia” and “Historian Supreme” of institutional OHV knowledge is how one of many letters of recommendation for Jim Bramham refers to this Class of 2018 inductee.

US Fish & Wildlife dune tour at Glamis

Representing the American Sand Association at a BLM meeting

    During his decades long relationship with Cal 4 Wheel, that continues to this day, Jim has served the Association as event chair, board of directors’ member, and natural resource consultant. Throughout his long history of event leadership and participation, he has helped the organization earn hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund legislative and land-use outreach at every level. His presidency pushed the organization to the forefront of both state and national recognition and respect.

    Jim’s vision for Cal 4 Wheel included a permanent facility that could be used for an office, meeting space, event equipment storage, and association gatherings. To that end, Jim located and negotiated for the building and property that houses the organization and offers meeting space for like-minded groups and functions.

    As the first person to represent Cal 4 Wheel at The SEMA Show, Jim worked to gain acceptance for the 4-Wheel Drive community in the mainstream automotive industry. Jim was also instrumental with Cal 4 Wheel and other associations in the creation of the North American Motorized Recreation Council.

    Jim’s leadership abilities and knowledge led to his appointment as a commissioner on the California Off Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Commission in 1996, where he served for four years. He helped organize ‘free days’ at State Vehicle Recreation Areas that highlighted local partnerships and responsible recreation. An advocate for safety and education, Jim’s leadership guided State Parks to include four-wheel drive safety and education training areas at a majority of its facilities, many offering Driver Certification classes conducted by Cal 4 Wheel volunteers.

    Seeing the need for a grassroots element, Jim was extremely active in the creation of Friends of Oceano Dunes. Jim worked on this issue at the Park, with the county, at the California state capital, and before the Coastal Commission. The early framework that Jim helped create has led to maintaining OHV recreation in one of the most contentious environments possible. Noting the success of the Friends of Oceano, Jim continued the ‘Friends of’ effort with the creation of Friends of Sand Mountain. This grassroots organization was pivotal in keeping OHV recreation access open at this popular Nevada sand destination.

    Environmental pressures on the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area (aka Glamis) and Dumont Dunes Recreation Area led to court mandated closure of hundreds of acres of dunes to OHV use. Jim was involved in studies that were initiated that used scientific data to support the reversal of the closures by the judicial system, allowing the dunes to be reopened to OHV use.

    Jim created a Memorandum of Understanding between State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management that created Technical Review Teams (TRT), which became the conduit for visitor input and representation on critical management decisions. The TRTs were recognized all the way to Washington DC as a success story in public land management. Jim served on the TRTs for more than 15 years.

    Jim knew that the ‘’Duner” was the one of the least organized and most under represented public land users in California. He worked to provide the group with a voice, credibility, and a conduit for action through creation of the American Sand Association, where he continues as a board member to this day.

    As part of the largest endangered species population study ever done, Jim worked in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. He coordinated housing, food service and dune transportation for 50 hikers and staff. Jim was also called on to provide logistics for a survey in the West Mojave Desert. The information gathered from these surveys was included in the Recreation Area Management Plan that now guides dune management. This plan included the largest area ever closed to OHV use to be reopened by the court, as a direct result of the information gathered.

    Jim’s passion for off road took him across state lines to Nevada once again, when he took on the logistics role for the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which involved housing and feeding ten two-man teams of 4WD, ATV, and motorcycle riders, collecting off highway route information.

    Working as a guide, Jim is a sought after leader who has conducted tours enjoyed by international, national, and local individuals and groups. He has led an untold number of historic and SUV-oriented trips throughout the west. His passion has always been to share the sport he loves with others. Jim concentrates on bringing his knowledge of outdoors, love of history and mechanical experience to many first-timers and interested veterans of the sport.

    Contributor: Bonnie Steele, California Four Wheel Drive Association

    Learn more about ORMHOF inductee Jim Bramham in this Conversations with Big Rich podcast:

    Advocacy and education are what ORMHOF inductee Jim Bramham, brings to the table. Leading the fight for years in preserving public lands, Jim does the hard part, a walking encyclopedia of OHV knowledge and land use, we are pleased to introduce him to more than California. Congratulations to Jim Bramham, a 2018 inductee into ORMHOF; Jim is why we say; legends live at  

    6:51 – my neighbor bought a Jeep and I spent hours in his garage asking questions

    11:29 – “You’re not going to college; you’re coming to work here.”                                

    15:34 – to this day, I’ve never seen anything that would do snow like that Travelall. 

    20:19 – you can’t ruin what you want to play with

    26:32 – it really hurt to see somebody so dedicated to a place…have to accept that it was just going to go away

    38:36 – the fact that a law enforcement presence exists, helps not just with OHV management, but with the management of all potential problems in the forest

    43:15 – it’s the campfire circle that’s going to push this information to the public

    49:40 – that’s going to be the push, to eliminate the randomness

    55:44 – the Senate is the War Zone over land use, it always will be