The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will be temporarily closed to the public August 1-30, 2017, while the Marine Corps uses the land to conduct training. The closure period will include the time required to ensure the Shared Use Area is clear of recreation activity prior to training and to confirm the land is clear of hazards prior to reopening the land for public access. The adjacent Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will remain open to the public during the closure of the Shared Use Area. The Marine Corps will continue to implement robust public outreach to ensure the public is informed of the temporary change in land use.
Public Meeting Announcement
Representatives from the Marine Corps and the Bureau of Land Management will host a Resource Management Group meeting about land use in the Johnson Valley area at the Lucerne Valley Community Center, April 1, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
The purpose of the meeting is to communicate the Marine Corps’ plans to conduct a large-scale exercise August 1-30, 2017, that will include training in the congressionally established Shared Use Area. Information concerning temporary land closures of the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area as well as public safety information will be discussed with attendees. All members of the public are welcome to attend.
In 2006, the Marine Corps adopted new specifications for large-scale training exercises at the Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. Although the Combat Center has been an effective training site since 1952, it had insufficient land and airspace to meet Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) sustained, combined-arms, live-fire and maneuver training requirements. These requirements combine the movement of three infantry battalions with aircraft support, ground troops and live fire. To conduct the mandated training, the Combat Center required expansion.
In December 2013, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 (NDAA 2014) was signed into law, changing the boundaries between the Combat Center and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This legislation authorized the withdrawal of federal land and purchase of non-federal land to meet MEB training requirements. This included an Exclusive Military Use Area west and south of MCAGCC of approximately 107,000 acres and a 56,000-acre Shared Use Area available for public recreation 10 months per year and for military training two 30-day periods each year. The Johnson Valley Shared Use Area will be closed to the public while the military utilizes it for training. The first closure of the Johnson Valley Shared Use Area for military training took place August 14-21, 2016.
Signage — New Boundaries
The new boundaries of the Combat Center will be marked with posts every 100 meters and warning signs every 200 meters. Individuals have a personal and legal responsibility to avoid trespassing onto the Combat Center regardless of the presence or absence of signs. This is consistent with all federal law and is not unique to the Combat Center.
Johnson Valley — Public Usage
The 2014 NDAA designated approximately 43,000 acres of land as the Johnson Valley Off Highway Vehicle Area (JVOHVRA) to be available for the public’s use year round. Separate from the JVOHVRA, the Shared Use Area has approximately 56,000 acres available for recreation 10 months of the year. The remaining two months of the year, the Marine Corps will use the land for training; the two months of military training will be broken up into two 30-day training periods. BLM will continue to manage this area when it is open to the public.
How will I know if the Johnson Valley Shared Public Use Area is closed for Marine Corps training?
The Marine Corps and BLM will work together to inform the public well in advance of military training through press releases, public service announcements, public outreach, notifications in libraries as well as other government facilities, social media, the Discover Johnson Valley app and this website.
Questions regarding the Exclusive Military Use Area or the Shared Use Area