60 years of motorized recreation, 40 years of land use advocacy, 26 years of fire service career, 14 years of military service, and a combat tour of duty in Vietnam, Del Albright brings a unique perspective to protecting our right to ride with ASA. Here's the inside scoop on Del.
Raised in Southern California, Del started riding in the desert with his dad, Elmer, in the early 1960s. His playground was Glamis, Ocotillo Wells, Cleveland National Forest, and the Palmdale/Lancaster desert. It all started when his dad brought home a 1952 Studebaker Commander that was pretty beat up but housed a big V-8 water pumper motor.
Working as a team (Del holding the light and passing tools to dad), they stripped off the body and other unnecessary parts, leaving the frame and motor. Elmer took it from there and built a buggy enhanced with a T-18 tranny and some Armstrong Tru-Tracs up front. When it was done, it looked like a bug with big eyes – or a lobster. Thus, the name.
Del and his dad spent years in the SoCal deserts running trails, shooting dunes, and exploring. Little brother Dale joined in, and the three guys did family outings a few times each month. Dad didn't like Competition Hill in those days because there would be "dozens of buggies there." Dozens. Get it? Now dozens of thousands. Anyway, the desert, off-roading bug took hold.
After high school and some Junior College, Vietnam was in full swing. Del joined the Army in 1967 to fight for his country. He asked to be in communications, like a telephone lineman repairman, which his uncle had done in Korea. Of course, Uncle Sam agreed to that when Del volunteered and promptly made him a grunt – infantryman.
Raised with manners, courtesy, respect, and patriotism by his mom and dad, Del was immediately transformed by the Army into an officer, trained as an Airborne Ranger, Green Beret (Special Forces), and ParaSCUBA frogman. He trained in every aspect of combat operations the military had to offer. Then he shipped out.
After a tour in South America and a combat tour in Vietnam, Del left active duty with 4 Bronze Stars, 2 Air Medals, and a Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and joined the California Army National Guard Combat Engineers to supplement the GI Bill while attending college.
He summarizes his memories of serving overseas by saying, "I turned 21 in the jungles of South America and 22 in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. When bad guys are involved, it's no way to grow up, and I wish it upon no youngster."
His education took the form of a B.S. in Forestry and a Master's in Environmental Studies and Planning. Later in life, this proved invaluable in creating a unique credibility when confronting anti-access sentiment and court battles. They could not challenge Del's credentials or credibility.
Besides English, Uncle Sam trained Del in two other languages, Spanish and Vietnamese. Yet, he claims he can still get a haircut and order a cold one in 3 languages!
Fire Service Career
Coming out of Humboldt State College with a Forestry degree, Del was instantly hired by the Calif. Dept. of Forestry (later called CalFire). Having Forestry and logging experience (summer jobs), Del spent a few years helping the state harvest and sell timber (redwoods) off of state lands but then transferred over to the fire operations side of CDF. During his fire service career of 26 years, he authored a Master's Thesis in Prescribed Burning for Wildlife Habitat, conducted thousands of acres of controlled burns, and fought wildfires from one end of the state to the other.
The state also trained him as a California Peace Officer so he could serve law enforcement duties as part of his fire job. He eventually became a Ranger Unit Chief, in charge of the Tuolumne/Calaveras Unit (TCU), the rank from which he retired.
Land Use Advocate and Ambassador
In the early 2000s, Del took a job with the BlueRibbon Coalition as an Ambassador, fighting for trails nationwide. 2018 he joined the team at ModernJeeper.com as a worldwide Ambassador providing land use help to clubs and groups, promoting the Jeep lifestyle. Then in 2021 joined the ASA team as the social media manager and land use advocate.
In 2004 Del started an online training course and hands-on workshops in Volunteer Leader and Land Stewardship (VLLS), training over 300 students nationwide. Many of those students have become club and organizational leaders, inspiring others to step up and get involved in saving trails and motorsports.
Del is an internationally published author with articles on over 600 websites, dozens of forums and blogs, multiple podcasts, and 20+ print magazines. His big red Jeep, C UN RD (Seein' Red) has been on the cover of seven print magazines.
His passions include music, photography, hunting, fishing, outdoor writing/photojournalism, Death Valley, and four-wheeling. Del has written poetry and songs, recorded music albums (CDs), wrote "the" book on landuse, and taught college-level courses. He has been jeeping from California to Florida and many other states while putting nearly 200,000 miles on Red, the Land Use War Machine Jeep. Most importantly, he is living life to the fullest with Stacie, his wife, enjoying every day outside as much as they can.
Some Awards and Highlights