SAN Praises Congressional Action to Save Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a solution to create a dedicated off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation area and provide land for training to the United States Marine Corps.  The Senate is set to ratify the measure next week. The bill will then be signed by the President to become law. The SEMA Action Network (SAN) strongly supports this action to end a six-year clash over access to 189,000 acres of Southern California desert between the military and OHV users.

A provision included within the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) creates the “Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area,” providing federal protection to over 96,000 acres established in 1980 for OHV recreation by the State of California.  It is the first time an OHV area has been provided national recognition.  The legislation also transfers 79,000 acres of Johnson Valley to the adjoining Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, CA.  Twice a year, 53,000 acres of the OHV area will be provided to the Marine Corps for 30 days of military training exercises.  No dud-producing ordnance will be used at that time in order to assure safety and continued access to the area. A map of the proposed land boundaries can be found by  CLICKING HERE.

The Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will continue to be controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  It contains a unique mix of open desert, dry lake beds and formidable rock-crawling formations that attracts off-roaders from around the world.  The area hosts the famous “King of the Hammers” Race, which drew over 50,000 people to the 2013 event.  The BLM estimates that Johnson Valley generates more than $71 million annually for local economies, a number that will continue to grow.

SEMA worked collaboratively with the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA), California Motorized Recreation Council (CMRC), Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) and Americans for Responsible Recreational Access (ARRA).  CMRC includes ORBA, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (Cal4Wheel), California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA), American Motorcyclist Association National (AMA), AMA District 36, AMA District 37 Off-Road, San Diego Off-Road Coalition (SDORC), American Sand Association (ASA) and California-Nevada Snowmobile Association (CNSA).  

We will continue to urge Senators to act quickly to approve the NDAA without changes. For more information, please contact Stuart Gosswein at

For a complete summary of this provision, please CLICK HERE.