By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved HR 1960, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill includes a provision to end a five-year debate on how to expand the U.S. Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, California. Authored by Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), the provision allows the Marines to have access to the adjoining Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area for up to 60 days per year for training exercises, but the area would be otherwise preserved for recreational use. The NDAA will now be considered by the U.S. Senate.
The provision 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). It provides for public participation in determining the dates for military activities that will be the least disruptive for OHV activities. The land is used year-round by OHV enthusiasts and is home to numerous motorized events that draw thousands of competitors and spectators to the area every year, including the famous King of the Hammers.
SEMA is urging senators to approve the Johnson Valley provision when the Senate considers the NDAA bill later this summer. Final passage of the NDAA is not expected until this fall.