By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
The House Natural Resources Committee has approved the “Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area Establishment Act,” (HR 1676) sponsored by Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA) that would end a five-year debate on how to expand the U.S. Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, California. The Marines would have access to the adjoining Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area for up to 60 days per year for training exercises, but the OHV area would be otherwise preserved in perpetuity. The bill will now be considered by the House Armed Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), who has co-sponsored the legislation.
HR 1676 protects OHV activities by establishing the "Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area" under continued management by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The legislation provides for public participation in determining the dates for military activities that will be the least disruptive for OHV activities.
Johnson Valley is the largest OHV area in the United States, totaling nearly 189,000 acres. The land is used year-round by OHV enthusiasts, as well as mountain bikers, equestrians and hunters. The area is also home to numerous motorized events that draw thousands of competitors and spectators to the area every year, including the famous King of the Hammers event.
SEMA and its SEMA Action Network (SAN) continue to urge lawmakers to adopt the solution and enact the legislation into law. SEMA represents thousands of companies that market products for OHV vehicles and, through the SAN, millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate these vehicles.