Washington, DC – The California Motorized Recreation Council (CMRC), an umbrella group of the eight largest OHV access groups in California, has agreed to contract terms with the Livingston Group, LLC in Washington, DC to help stave off the expansion of the 29 Palms Marine Base. The move comes on the heels of the expected April 27th, 2012 release of a Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) by the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps wishes to annex approximately 160,000 acres of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle area, which is the largest open OHV area in the United States and contributes over $70 million dollars into the economy of the surrounding High Desert communities annually.
The Marine Corps proposal would limit motorized recreation to less than one percent of the entire California Desert, a move in which the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) contends will cripple the already battered off-road manufacturing industry, and increase the likelihood of resource damage and safety concerns at the remaining OHV areas. “Our industry has continued to grow at steady pace since the late 1970s, while in that same time period we have lost 48% of the recreational opportunities in the California Desert.” Fred Wiley, the president of the Off-Road Business Association went on to say, “While we support the training needs of our military, it is a bitter pill to swallow losing such a massive piece of our public lands, considering the limited time the Marine Corps plans to utilize this portion of the desert.”