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Some Positive News About Johnson Valley OHV Area

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Dec. 19, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

California's popular Johnson Valley riding area may get reprieve from military base expansion

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Riders who use the popular Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Riding Area in California may not lose most of the area to a Marine base expansion after all, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The military is barred from spending money on expanding the Twentynine Palms military base into Johnson Valley until it completes a report on how the expansion would affect off-highway riding, under a military spending authorization bill approved by U.S. House and Senate conferees on Dec. 18.

"The report to Congress would cover the impact on off-highway vehicle recreation in the Johnson Valley region, along with alternatives for achieving the goals of the military and the OHV recreation communities," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. "This report would allow for more time to, hopefully, come to a solution that meets the training needs of the military while maintaining access for motorized recreation."

The language, included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310), was offered by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) with support from Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.). House and Senate negotiators worked out their differences over the bill in a conference committee and then sent it to their respective chambers for final approval. Once approved by both chambers, it goes to the president to be signed into law.

"The AMA, in partnership with the California Motorized Recreation Council and The Livingston Group in Washington, D.C., that was hired by the CMRC to move the legislation, worked long and hard to get this important report required before the base expansion can proceed," Allard said.

The California Motorized Recreation Council is a non-profit association comprised of the leadership of the largest off-highway vehicle recreation organizations in California. CMRC membership includes, the Off-Road Business Association, California Association of 4-Wheel Drive Clubs, California Off-Road Vehicle Association, AMA national, American Sand Association, California-Nevada Snowmobile Association, AMA District 36 (Northern California, Northwestern Nevada) and AMA District 37 (Southern California) Off-Road.

"I particularly want to thank Rep. Bartlett and Sens. Feinstein and Udall for their efforts," Allard said.

"This was truly a team effort involving many southern California motorized groups and their elected representatives in Washington, D.C., as well as other representatives in Congress," Allard said.

In July, the Department of the Navy released a final environmental impact statement for the expansion of the Marine base. The preferred alternative would allow public use of only 40,000 acres of the 190,000-acre Johnson Valley OHV area, and for only 10 months a year.

It's all part of an effort by the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms to expand its land holdings to allow for more live-fire training. The Marine Corps is part of the Navy.

The proposed expansion needs congressional approval. The military had hoped to begin training on the land in 2014.

Several years ago, the Navy began the formal process to take over some 365,906 acres of public land near San Bernardino to use for live-fire training for the Marines.

At that time, the Navy filed an application with the U.S. Interior Department seeking control of the public land, which is under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Navy also wants priority for some 72,186 acres of non-federal land in case the federal government acquires it.

About the American Motorcyclist Association

Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA honors the heroes and the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.

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WOW!! I believe this to be an unprecedented action. The politicians actually giving some consideration to offroaders rights. It will be interesting to see if the required report results in any effect. It could end up just being a speed bump in the way of the OHV area closures but we will have to wait and see.

I haven't heard of the CMRC before. Good to see there is another statewide OHV support group working for our rights.

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I received this in an email from SEMA and thought I would add it to this post. A lot of the same info, but I was surpised by the last part... "the study would be completed in the next few days". Seems very soon for any government agency, but we may know sooner than later.

California’s Johnson Valley OHV Area Guaranteed Temporary Protection from Marine Base Expansion

Thanks to the efforts of the SEMA Action Network (SAN), Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and a coalition of other land use groups, continued off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to Johnson Valley, California has been guaranteed for now by the U.S. Congress. Congress has included a provision with the 2013 Defense Authorization Act that requires the U.S. Marines to study alternative ways to share the area with the OHV community without taking ownership of the land. The Johnson Valley off-road area draws at least 200,000 visitors annually and may generate as much as $191 million annually into the economy.

Johnson Valley is home to “King of the Hammers” and many other OHV events. The land has been controlled for years by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which provides special-use permits for various motorized recreation activities. The U.S. Marines want to expand their base at Twentynine Palms, California to include nearly 147,000 acres of adjacent land within Johnson Valley in order to conduct large-scale training exercises for one or two months a year. The land use coalition is urging the Marines to simply obtain BLM special-use permits. Any transfer of land rights is subject to Congressional approval. Final action on legislation directing the Marines to conduct an OHV study is expected to be completed in the next few days. For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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I received this in an email from SEMA and thought I would add it to this post. A lot of the same info, but I was surpised by the last part... "the study would be completed in the next few days". Seems very soon for any government agency, but we may know sooner than later.

.... Final action on legislation directing the Marines to conduct an OHV study is expected to be completed in the next few days. For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

Actually it says, "legislation directing the Marines to conduct an OHV study is expected to be completed in the next few days."

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