In what's been a long, drawn-out battle between off-road enthusiasts, the U.S. Marines, and the Bureau of Land Management, it looks as though a final, permanent compromise that will keep the Johnson Valley OHV Recreational Area open for use for more than 300 days a year is about to become reality. The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee approved HR 1676, the Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area Establishment Act that would give joint use and access to both Marines at the nearby Twentynine Palms base, as well as off-road enthusiasts that have enjoyed the area for years.
Representative Paul Cook of Yucca Valley has been an instrumental figure in working out the compromise, and prospects look encouraging for the legislation going forward. The next step is approval by the House Armed Services Committee, which is expected in the coming weeks.
The compromise bill keeps the area under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management and provides for public input on determining the days for military use that would be least disruptive to off-road recreational activity. The Johnson Valley OHV area is home to the famous King of the Hammers off-road competition.