A History of the Friends of Jawbone - 1990s
On January 26, 1996, the first meeting of the Jawbone Steering Committee, an early incarnation of the Friends of Jawbone, was held in the newly completed Jawbone Station building. Those in attendance included Jim Keeler, Craig Beck, Dave Kotlarski, and Myrtle Railey (who were running the station at the time), as well as Jim Clark, Dave Johnston, Kathy Baker, Carol Barrett, Don Maben, Bill Deaver, Steve Pawling, Clark Woy, Holly Hart, Roni Fortun, Stan Haye, Elayn Briggs, John Butz, and Loretta Pedersen. Topics that day included the operation and leadership of the station, the possibility of opening a bookstore, a Grand Opening ceremony, and which of two organizations to associate with: the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association or the Southwest Natural and Cultural Heritage Association.
The Grand Opening for the new building was held in mid-April with a number of dignitaries and guests present. The Station was dedicated to Mark “Moose” Anderson, an avid off-roader and an early member of the Off-Highway Commission. A plaque to honor him was placed near the flag pole in front of the station and several of his family members were present to speak of his life. It was a fitting tribute, since Mark Anderson served as the first Commissioner on the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Commission and worked successfully in conjunction with many other individuals in the Jawbone area to promote responsible recreational use. His degree in Natural Resource Planning, as well as his motocross racing history, made him uniquely suited for the job and an ideal advocate both for the environment and OHV sports. In addition to his work with the OHV Commission he also ran a part-time business as a motorcycle adventure guide in Baja. Sadly, he suffered a fatal motorcycle accident in Mexico in 1987, but his tireless work with OHV, and his dedication to landscape conservation, is honored each year at the annual Moose Anderson Days volunteer event at Jawbone Station.
By May 10th of that year, a decision had been made as to who to associate with, and a representative of the Southwest Natural and Cultural Heritage Association met with the committee to discuss placing a bookstore in the station. It was decided that they would fund a bookstore opening and, if the monthly gross sales exceeded $500, it would stay open with their blessing. If not, they would withdraw their support. The bookstore opened in late summer and during that first month netted over $800 in sales; a figure which grew with each passing month. In August of 1996, the name of the group was changed from Jawbone Steering Committee to the Friends of Jawbone, and officers were elected. Ed Waldheim was elected as president and held the office until his passing in 2019, consecutively being elected for 23 years straight. The name would again be changed on March 9, 1998 when The Friends of Jawbone revived their 501(c)(3) Not for Profit status from the IRS and incorporated as Friends of Jawbone, Inc. Also in 1996, volunteer Myrtle Railey was formally hired as a BLM park ranger to staff the station five days a week.
Early in 1997, plans were solidified to host the first annual “Moose Anderson Days,” with the event to be held the weekend of April 21-22. During this time, letterhead and the Friends of Jawbone logo (a moose with a motorcycle) were created. The first Moose Anderson Days was a success by all accounts, with 127 volunteers showing up and removing 20 tons of trash from the desert. Each volunteer received a free t-shirt and a free lunch, a tradition which continues today.
In October it was decided that a map of the riding areas surrounding Jawbone Station should be created. In spring of 1998, Alex Smith created the first draft of the map that would become the Friends of Jawbone map, and a grant proposal was submitted. Funding was always an issue, so through the Kern County Board of Supervisors, Friends of Jawbone was able to receive a grant for a map resulting in a grant received in the spring of 1999 for $18,000! In subsequent years FOJ received money from OHV Green Sticker programs and even, once, a grant from Deutch Bank to fund the map production. Even though the maps are a brisk seller, we have always given away far more of them then we have sold and therefore, they are not self-sufficient and require grant funding to print.
On July 22, 1997 Mr. Bob, a desert tortoise who was 100 years old at the time, joined the FOJ family and was housed in a habitat outside of Jawbone Station, where he is still going strong in 2023 at 125 years of age. Mr. Bob likes to greet visitors to Jawbone Station when he exits his burrow during the warmer months, and regular updates on Mr. Bob are available on the Friends of Jawbone Facebook Page.
The following October was another exciting addition to the station, the Friends of Jawbone purchased their first computer, a used one, for $500. In that same month, the E. Clampus Vitus organization (a group dedicated to the study and preservation of Western heritage) installed a monument to Josie Bishop near the front gate of the station. Josie was known as the famed “Radium Queen of the West,” for her Radium discovery northwest of Jawbone Station in the 1930s. Around the same time, the Cantil Post Office, located in the nearby Jawbone Store, was closed. Soon after, the Honda Proving Ground provided funds for mail boxes to be placed at Jawbone Station, where the mail is still received today. A rare low-point in the year occurred when Jawbone Station was broken into twice, though both times the robbers were arrested soon after the break-in. The resolution proved to be a great way to bring in the new millennium, and a productive first decade of progress therein. The story continues in Part Two.
Part Two of Three of the History of the Friends of Jawbone, detailing the timeline of our organization from 1996 through the present day.
In this section: 2000-2010, recapping the events that took place over the course of the first decade of the new millennium.
Part Three of Three of the History of the Friends of Jawbone, detailing the timeline of our organization from 1996 through the present day.
In this section: 2010 through the present day, recapping the stories and events of the last decade and change.
Dedicated to Ed Waldheim
Founder of the Friends of Jawbone (FOJ)
Friends of Jawbone is a non-profit corporation under section 501(c)(3). If you or your business would like to support Friends of Jawbone, please click here.
Special Thanks To:
Please join us in thanking our Business Supporters:
Southern California Overland Trail Association
Please join us in thanking the sponsors of our 25th Moose Anderson Day:
Bureau of Land Management
CSI Electrical Contractors
Andrew & Cherie Holloway
Bank of the Sierra
Green Tea Garden
Dave & Shelly Hammersmith
Kern County Search and Rescue
West Best Pizza
Mojave Off Road Adventures
Jawbone Canyon Store
Fun Time ATV Rentals
Doug & Katie Varner
Doug and Katie Varner
Indian Wells Brewery
Friends of Oceano Dunes
Point Mugu 4×4 Club
Happy Trails Data Management
IMC Real Estate