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4x4Voice News-Bytes features news and information about OHV recreation and environment issues within California. 4x4Voice News-Bytes - Site registration required to post.
  1. John Stewart
  2. Johnson Valley
  3. Saturday, 08 December 2012
  4.  Subscribe via email

Congressional Leadership Encourages Continued Talks


At the urging of members of Congress, including House Majority whip Kevin McCarthy, the United States Marine Corps met with key members of the California Motorized Recreational Council (CMRC) December 5th 2012 in Twentynine Palms, CA. Major General James Kessler led the discussion and the Marines re-established their position regarding the Twentynine Palms base expansion. The Marines preferred expansion route would consume the majority of land that currently belongs to a popular off-highway vehicle (OHV) area in Johnson Valley, CA.


With a footprint larger than the state of Rhode Island, The Twentynine Palms base is the largest Marine base in the world. With the expansion, the USMC is hoping to gain an additional 167,000 acres. The Johnson Valley OHV area is home to many popular off road events, including 50 years of District37motorcycle races and one of the fastest growing motorsport events in the country, King of The Hammers. “This is the last great wilderness experience for motorized recreation in California” said Jeff Knoll Chairman of the CMRC sub-committee on base expansion.


The USMC maintains that the expansion is needed to insure the proper training of its Mechanicalized Expeditionary Battalions (MEBs). Of the six expansion alternatives outlined by the Marines, the USMC continues to prefer option 6, which affects 147,000 acres of OHV land. The Marines do not currently have a plan in place to secure the new border with fencing which could present a security risk for the Marines. “If the Marines move their boundaries into an area that has been open to OHV use for generations, popular opinion believes, that it will likely take 5 years to safely secure this perimeter.” said Fred Wiley, President of the Off Road Business Association. He continued by saying, “However, we believe the OHV community created a plan where the Marines could start training in six months, under the use of a permit.”


“The Marines study outlines six alternatives that meet the minimum requirements for training. Our plan uses an existing alternative but asks that the USMC use the property under a permit with the BLM rather than the Marines taking outright ownership of the land, this way the public can continue using this area when the Marines are not.” said Knoll. CMRC believes utilizing a BLM permit process will meet the requirements of the USMC training, reduce the cost of expansion to US tax payers, continue the stream of $71Million annually spent by OHV enthusiasts in the communities surrounding Johnson Valley, and keep the majority of the land open for public use.


Jim Woods, President of the California Off Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) pointed out that “CMRC is a very focused group who has made a priority to seek out solutions that best represent the interests of the American people. With the fiscal cliff looming, I don’t think the Marines have considered the true costs of their expansion.”


The Marines hope to release their final decision in early January, which will leave the expansion in the hands of Congress. Last July, thousands of OHV enthusiasts contacted their federal representatives asking them to save Johnson Valley. This week’s meeting with the USMC was a direct result of those efforts.


The CMRC, with the help of dedicated OHV enthusiasts, environmental groups and local residents to Johnson Valley, will continue its campaign to save the Johnson Valley OHV area. Their plan is to educate congressional leadership, the general public and the Marines regarding their proposed alternative. “This campaign has proven that pro active participation in our government can affect change” said Knoll “Without the engagement of the OHV Community the gates might well have already been installed, and I am proud that we have come this far.” Those interested in assisting with the campaign to save Johnson Valley should visit www.savejohnsonvalley.org or www.facebook.com/savethehammers.


 


About California Motorized Recreational Council (CMRC): CMRC is the combined efforts of multiple OHV organizations and subject matter experts to address the needs of motorized recreational enthusiasts throughout the state of California. The group is comprised of the following organizations: Off Road Business Association (ORBA), American Motorcycle Association (AMA), California Off Road Vehicle Association (CORVA), California Association of 4Wheel Drive Clubs, AMA District 37, and AMA District 36.


 

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Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Bullet points for OHV leadership


Marines are moving forward with expansion
Marines Alternative six remains the preferred alternative
Shared use portion is proposed to be managed by the BLM 10 months out of the year, but no hard data or plan has been presented
The Marines have reduced the expansion area by 5000 acres
The cherry stem between the Hammers area, and Cougar buttes area has been widened to 2.5 miles wide
Johnson Valley expansion area will be used for training 12 months a year
There is no provision for base perimeter security
The Marines will not be building a fence
Perimeter will be posted with signs only
The Marines have shown no interest in the use of the area by a permit
The Marines believe they have met the demands of the Bartlett Amendment, but would not present any data that enforced this position
The Marines do not accept the economic impact will be significant to the surrounding area
The Bartlett amendment has been submitted to the Senate and was pushed into a committee
CMRC subcommittee will develop a white paper to explain our proposal of an alternative 4 hybrid which would require a BLM Permit
The Marines do not seem to want an open dialog regarding solutions
The OHV industry would be willing assist in education and safety training if the marines would utilize our proposal
There is no life span expectation for MEB Training
The Marines agree with our expectation of a five year education requirement to secure the perimeter before live fire training can begin.
The Marines acknowledge that perimeter security is currently an issue, but have no plan to address it.



Next course of action


Develop a white paper
Petition to the president
Renewal of contract with the Livingston Group
Develop a budget for fundraising efforts
Hire a PR firm to get our message to the people.

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  1. more than a month ago
  2. Johnson Valley
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