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  

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