Johnson Valley has been one of my favorite haunts since Victor Valley built Sledgehammer 20 years ago. I helped build Jackhammer and remember winching a giant boulder up on end, then helping as we jammed other boulders around the big one to keep it standing. It fell down and disappeared years ago. Still, Jackhammer, and the other trails in Johnson Valley, have been some of my favorites for years.
My interest in Johnson Valley and the fight to save it has me feeling bipolar. On the one hand, I don’t want to lose Johnson Valley. On the other, I don’t want to interfere with the USMC and its mission. Others felt the same way and have worked out a compromise. Under a provision included within the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), 79,000 acres of Johnson Valley is being transferred to the adjoining Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, CA. The legislation also 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. 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.
This looks as if it’s a workable compromise (as long as we don’t lose the Hartwell Hills). It’s been a long time coming and many individuals and organizations deserve our thanks for getting this done.
For more, go to www.FourWheeler.com . . . . and read more about this!