If you’re a fan of Johnson Valley OHV Area, you’re probably well aware of the current fight to try to keep the Hammers open for future generations of outdoor and off road enthusiasts. The fight has been a long hard-fought battle every step of the way to try to come to an agreement that can satisfy both the Marine Corps at 29 Palms as well as the off road community. The BLM estimates that off roaders bring in a total of $71.5 million into the local economy every year so losing the Hammers would not only affect the off road community, it would also cripple the local economy.
Many believe the Marine Corps position that a land sharing compromise (60 days out of the year would be set aside for the Marine Corps under the Alternative 4) would destroy their readiness is unfounded. The Marines have been at war for the past 10 years with the MEB level training requirement in place without the expansion. Their most recent USMC training order 3502.2 states on pg. 6 how MEB level exercises will be successfully conducted maintaining readiness before the 29 Palms land expansion is complete.
Recently, Congressman Paul Cook, a combat veteran Marine who served as the Inspector General at 29 Palms, introduced legislation that met the Marine Corps training needs while retaining public access to all of Johnson Valley. This proposal was a modified version of the Marine Corps Alternative Four which would result in The Johnson Valley National OHV Area. Congressman Cook’s proposal went unopposed in the House of Representatives and is now part of the National Defense Authorization Act awaiting confirmation by the Senate.
You would think this would be good news but unfortunately, Senator Dianne Feinstein is considering re-submitting Alternative Six through the Senate Arms Committee. Alternative Six would take away the majority of Johnson Valley from off-roaders and outdoor enthusiasts forever. Johnson Valley was designated as an off road recreation area to protect other wilderness areas so losing it would only serve to be a huge disservice to the off road community as well as future generations of wheelers.
Here’s what you can do to help!
Call and write to Senator Dianne Feinstein urging her to support the existing Alternative Four (also known as the Cook/McKeon Compromise). Your voice could make the difference so we urge you to speak up for off roaders and more importantly, future generations to come.
State Office: (415) 393-0707
Washington Office: (202) 224-3841
LA Office: (310) 914-7300
San Diego Office: (619) 231-9712
Fresno Office: (559) 485-7430
While the Marine Corps let the Cook/Mckeon Compromise go unchallenged in the House of Representatives, it is believed they will introduce Alternative 6 language through the Energy and Resources Committee on the Senate side via S. 1309. The only way to keep this from happening is by taking action immediately by contacting these individual members of the Senate to ask them to oppose such language.
Chairman Carl Levin (SASC) - 202-224-6221
Sen. John McCain - 202-224-2235
Chm. Ron Wyden 202-224-5244
Sen. Lisa Murkowski - 202-224-6665