The USMC and BLM held an informational meeting on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015 concerning the plans for the Marines to conduct an intensive training exercise and use the “Shared Use Area” of the Johnson Valley OVH Area. The planned exercise will be during the month of August 2016. During that time, the Marines will have exclusive use of the Shared Use Area which will cover their preparation, conduct and cleanup activities. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2014 designated 79,000 acres of public land to the Marine Corps for Exclusive Military Use and authorized two 30-day periods annually of a 53,000-acreShared Use Area for military training exercises.
The Marine representatives did state that small arms fire into and out of the Share Use Area is among the potential activities. They furthered stated that “dud-producing” ordinance would not be used (either aimed into or shot out of) in the Shared Use Area.
The most important point about this meeting is the availability of the smart phone app. The free “Discover Johnson Valley” app, which is currently available for iPhone and Android platforms, is one of methods the Marine Combat Center in Twentynine Palms is reaching out to inform off-roaders and others of base boundaries, projected temporary closures and other information about the area.
The app consists of a map of the current base boundary. When enabled, the smart-phone app will use the GPS technology in the smart phone to track relative position in relation to the base boundary. A “buffer line” (highlighted in yellow) is enabled to alert when the base boundary is being approached. When crossing the base boundary line, the display turns to red.
There will be another meeting in April/May 2016 to provide additional details of the exercise plan.
Additional information about the Discover Johnson Valley app is available from the 29 Palms USMC Combat Training Center website.