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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 447 

Jawbone Station Visitor Center Expands

From a small travel trailer dispensing information and first aid in 1982 to today’s 1,900-square-foot complex, Jawbone Station Visitor Center serves Eastern Sierra Off-Highway Vehicle enthusiasts and travelers alike.  At the foot of Jawbone Canyon, off California Highway 14, volunteers from the Friends of Jawbone staff the center disbursing maps, books, and friendly advice to about 6,600 visitors annually.  Now just 15 years after completion of the visitor center, demand for its services has been fast outgrowing its physical capabilities.

Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony for its expansion marked the beginning of construction of a 2,000-square-foot educational wing that will house additional interpretive displays, along with a multi-purpose room for onsite audio visual programs and presentations.  Additionally, a new 6,000-square-foot work-center building will give staff and volunteers a base from which to maintain, manage, and enhance recreational opportunities and resources on public lands.  And finally, the completion of a shade ramada will enable the public to rest and enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding desert in comfort. (text continues below)

Half a dozen smiling people throw shovelsful of dirt
Prominent supporters of Jawbone Station break ground for its expansion: Sixto Fernandez, manager of grants and cooperative agreements for California State Parks; Teri Raml, BLM California Desert District Manager; Don Maben, Kern County Supervisor; Zach Scrivner, Bakersfield City Councilman and district director for Assemblywoman Jean Fuller; Ed Waldheim, Friends of Jawbone president; Ben McFarland, staff assistant to Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Planning for the expansion began more than six years ago when BLM Ridgecrest Supervisor of Outdoor Recreation Craig Beck and Friends of Jawbone President Ed Waldheim began applying for grants and lining up other sources of funding.   They received assistance from Kern County, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and of course, the BLM.  With funding secured, on Sept. 2nd BLM Ridgecrest Field Office and the Friends of Jawbone hosted a groundbreaking ceremony that was attended by the “Who’s Who” of Kern County.

Though Beck and Waldheim assuredly deserve most of the kudos for making the project happen, Waldheim, never forgetting a name, individually thanked each person in attendance, no matter how small his or her role.  He brought each forward to join the dozens of other red-faced folks, until finally, Waldheim had every last soul facing an audience of empty chairs.  When he realized there was no one left to snap a group photo, Waldheim took half a second to spot the BLM camera on an empty chair, ran for it, and within seconds had taken a half-dozen photos.  That’s often how things get done in the desert – especially with an Ed Waldheim around.

- David Briery, BLM Central California Office, 9/9/10

BLM-California News.bytes, Issue 447

Last updated: 09-09-2010