Wisconsin Four Wheel Drive Association History Summary

By Luana Schneider (W4WDA)

The possibility of a Wisconsin Four Wheel Drive Association (W4WDA) was considered in late 1976 and became a reality in 1977 with the main purpose of stopping land closures for Four Wheel Drive (4WD) vehicles on public lands and establishing legislation for establishing trails, etc. for 4WD vehicles.

In 1977 W4WDA also was very instrumental in organizing United Four Wheel Drive Associations and has been involved in various capacities ever since.

In the early ‘80’s W4WDA was instrumental in defeating legislation called the “Bumper Height Law” which would have been very detrimental to the 4WD community and prompted a W4WDA committee to be formed to research and apply science to what became called the “Lift Kit Law”.   Small revisions were made at a later date with assistance from W4WDA.

In 1993 W4WDA received a Recreation Trail Program (RTP) grant to restore the Pipeline Trail on the Nicolet National Forest (NNF).  This was done with the cooperation of the Forest Service and other partners in building two bridges and other maintenance.  In 1995 headed up building an accessible fishing area in NNF and through the years have done various clean-ups, building and setting up wilderness toilets, etc.

W4WDA organized and headed up the event Four Wheelin’with Feelin’ for the March of Dimes for 35 years and raised right at one million dollars for the March of Dimes along with funds for W4WDA.

W4WDA has had representation at almost all the State Trails Council meetings since 1992 and were there at these meetings and shared input on establishing protocol for using the RTP funds.  The W4WDA has had a member appointed by the Governor on the Council since 2011.

In 2006 W4WDA was a partner in helping host Camp Jeep at Road America by cutting and leading trails, etc.

W4WDA has been very instrumental by attending meetings, public hearings and writing letters in regard to inclusion in the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP), the Recreation Opportunity Analysis (ROA), DNR and County Forest Master Plans etc.  However, even with major efforts were not successful in being included in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve or the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area. 

W4WDA was involved in the DNR Invasive Species sub-committee on protocols in deterring the spread by various users and from that a protocol brochure for the 4WD community was established.

In 1990 there were over 40 four-wheel drive clubs in Wisconsin, many who were involved in many charity activities, emergency situations and providing several educational and safety programs throughout the state.  Today, there are very few clubs and more social media groups.

W4WDA is looking forward to the new Wisconsin Coalition of Four Wheel Drives’ goal to bring together many of the clubs and the social media 4WD groups in Wisconsin to advance the 4WD movement.

For a more detailed version click HERE