SEMA-Logo-1-3-13Diamond Bar, CA – The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) strongly supports a provision to end a six-year clash over access to 189,000 acres of Southern California desert between the military and off-highway vehicle (OHV) users.  The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a solution to create a dedicated OHV recreation area and provide land for training to the United States Marine Corps.  The Senate is set to ratify the measure next week. The bill will then be signed by the President to become law.

Under a provision included within the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), 79,000 acres of Johnson Valley is being transferred to the adjoining Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, CA.  The legislation also creates the “Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area,” providing federal protection to over 96,000 acres established in 1980 for OHV recreation by the State of California.  It is the first time an OHV area has been provided national recognition.  Twice a year, 53,000 acres of the OHV area will be provided to the Marine Corps for 30 days of military training exercises.  No dud-producing ordnance will be used at that time in order to assure safety and continued access to the area.

Johnson-Valley-Hammers-3-1-13JOHNSON VALLEY, CA:  Hammerking Productions, the founders of The Griffin King of The Hammers Presented by Nitto Tire, are pleased to announce that the week-long off road festival held annually in Johnson Valley, CA will be able to continue in its current location for the foreseeable future. After six years of negotiations between the United States Marine Corps, the federal government and the Off Highway Vehicle(OHV) Community, a deal has been reached to preserve the majority of the land in Johnson Valley for OHV use.

Congressman Paul Cook spearheaded the deal which allows nearly 100,000 acres of land to remain open to the public and managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Marines will have access to approximately 55,000 acres of shared use land for 60 days a year to meet their training objectives, but will not retain ownership of the land the remaining 305 days a year.  The proposed legislation is expected to pass  the House later this week and the Senate next week before the holiday recess.

AMA-logo-230PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in California won’t be taken over by the military after all, thanks to language included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 that was approved by a U.S. House-Senate conference committee on Dec. 11, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The AMA, together with a coalition of off-highway recreation partners, congratulates U.S. Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.) for his leadership in protecting the interests of the OHV community — many of whom are motorcyclists — by getting the language inserted into the bill. Cook’s language ensures the safety of the residents in the Johnson Valley area, which is just east of the San Bernardino Mountains near Los Angeles, and provides an adequate training area for the U.S. Marines stationed at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms.

Johnson-Valley-Hammers-3-1-13WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook’s (R-Yucca Valley) plan to create the Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area was included yesterday in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), according to a release by the Off Road Business Association. Originally introduced earlier this year as a stand-alone bill, the legislation was co-sponsored by Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Cook stated, “This legislation has cleared an important hurdle. Support for it was overwhelmingly bipartisan. My concern has always been about public safety. The Johnson Valley is one of the few places left for off-highway vehicle recreation. This is a balanced approach which protects public safety while still allowing for recreational use.”

SEMA-Logo-1-3-13Diamond Bar, CA (April 23, 2013) – The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has endorsed a proposal by Rep. Paul Cook that would end a five-year debate on how to expand the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) base at Twentynine Palms, California.  Under the compromise, the Marines would have access to the adjoining Johnson Valley Off-Highway (OHV) Recreation Area for up to 42 days a year for training exercises but the OHV area would be otherwise preserved in perpetuity.

“SEMA thanks Representative Cook for crafting legislation that addresses the needs of local residents, the OHV community and the Marine Corps,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting.  “It represents a commonsense, shared-use compromise that fairly protects the interests of all stakeholders.”

JOHNSON VALLEY, CA: In the ongoing effort to Save the Johnson Valley OHV area, a new campaign has emerged to raise national awareness regarding the expansion of the 29 Palms Marine base onto public lands. Volunteers have created a petition on the White House.gov site (http://petitions.whitehouse.gov) with the hope of receiving formal recognition from the White House regarding The Johnson Valley OHV area. The White House has committed to responding to any petition that receives 25,000 or more signatures within a 30 day time frame.

The petition specifically requests the White House to deny any request by the 29 Palms Marine Base to withdraw land from The Johnson Valley OHV area and use it for base expansion purposes. The title of the petition specifically requests the White House to: “Save the Johnson Valley OHV Area. Be fiscally responsible. Stop 29 Palms Marine base expansion. Keep public lands open.” This petition will need roughly 1,000 signatures a day to be eligible to receive a response from a White House representative.

The California Association of 4WD Clubs Inc. recently sent over information on the final comment period for the Johnson Valley OHV. More information and ways to help are outlined below:

We need every off-roader to participate in a targeted outreach. One phone call or fax a day is all we ask. Talking points can be found below. Contact name is underlined. Congress is on recess this week, they should be in the District Office. Every off-roader must participate!

USMC Preferred Alternative:
Alternative 6 was selected in the DEIS as the preferred alternative and slightly modified in the Final EIS: it is the optimal alternative for the Marine Corps considering operational and environmental impact factors together. Developed in response to public comments it was designed to rpeserve public access to important off-road recreation areas during periods when MEB training did not require use of those lands. The Preferred Alternative would allow for reopening to public recreation use approximately 40,000 acres of the acquisition area for ten months a year. The land would fall under management of the Marine Corps under this proposed plan.

The California Motorized Recreation Council (CMRC), an umbrella group of the eight largest Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) associations in California, has organized a national effort to help save the world-renowned Johnson Valley OHV area in California. Mobilizing enthusiasts from across the country, and utilizing its relationship with the Livingston Group of Washington DC, CMRC has succeeded in its efforts to educate Congress about the unbelievable loss of public lands it has experienced since 1978 in the California Desert. The latest loss of opportunity stems from the 29 Palms Marine base expansion into the 160,000 acre Johnson Valley OHV area, which was created as part of the 1980 California Desert Protection Act.

Congressman Bartlett (R-Maryland), with the support of his Californian counterparts, requested additional information of the United States Marine Corps before the expansion could be approved, including a study of the CMRC proposal to allow the area be used by a permit for the 12 days a year the Marines plan to train. “We believe a better use of the area would be under a permit rather than closing the entire area. Securing the perimeter will be a colossal undertaking and the additional cost of acquisition can be reduced by simply using the area during training rather than closing it to the public,” stated Jeff Knoll, CMRC JV sub-committee chairman.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) has been delayed a number of times from its expected release last February, and is expected this week. Congressman Bartlett’s Amendment 243 to HR 4310 delays the expansion until the Marines can produce a report that explores the potential to utilize the area by permit. In addition, it requires the Marine Corps to produce this required information in the next 90 days. The complete body can be viewed below.

Simi Valley, CA – March 26, 2012 - Fortunate enough to have one of the most extreme testing grounds in their backyard, GenRight Off-Road felt it was necessary to do their part to protect the Johnson Valley OHV area from the 29 Palms Marine Base Expansion.  To help fund the cause GenRight Off-Road is donating $1500 to Savethehammers.org.

Currently the Marines are looking to expand the 29 Palms Marine base west into the Johnson Valley OHV area.  The current marine base is three quarters the size of the state of Rhode Island and if the expansion takes place it will be equal to the state of Rhode Island.  It’s also important to note that the Johnson Valley OHV area represents 50% of the area available for off-road recreation in California.  Closing this area would leave less than 1% of California available to OHV access.

GenRight is proud of the amount of time they spend in Johnson Valley! Wether it’s testing new products on the famous “Hammers” trails, leading trail rides for groups of enthusiasts, or preparing for the King of the Hammers there is a good chance you can find the GenRight crew in Johnson Valley on any given weekend.  “Anything we can do to help preserve the Johnson Valley OHV area for future generations is a step in the right direction and we are happy to support www.savethehammers.org.” Stated GenRight Off-Road owner Tony Pellegrino.

You too can do your part to help save the hammers and protect Johnson Valley.  Visit www.savethehammers.org to learn more.


Mitch Guthrie – 1st Overall at 2012 UTV King of The Hammers

Mitch Guthrie, #555 took the overall win at 2012 UTV King of the Hammers in his Polaris RZR XP.  Guthrie ran a flawless race, keeping a fast pace that gained momentum with each race mile.  Todd Stephenson in the #1944 Artic Cat Wildcat took 2nd, making it an impressive first run for the Artic Cat Wildcat.