Intense Advocacy Effort Results in Decisive Victory for Recreation Enthusiasts
For more than six years, a battle brewed over the future of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area in the Southern California desert. The issue was simple: how to expand the adjoining Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms while preserving recreation access to 189,000 acres at Johnson Valley. The Marines needed the additional land to simulate movements of brigade-level expeditionary forces (about 15,000 troops), and the Johnson Valley topography seemed ideal for training purposes. The debate reached a critical point in 2013, and a decision required Congressional approval. As a result of a consistent grassroots effort from SEMA and many partner organizations, a legislative solution was reached to create a dedicated OHV recreation area and provide land for military training exercises.