AMA-logo-230PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The National Defense Authorization Act, which includes language to create the Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area in California to protect it from a military takeover, has cleared the U.S. House, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

On June 14, the House approved the authorization bill, H.R. 1960. The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

The legislation includes language written by Rep. Paul Cook (R-Calif.) to protect Johnson Valley from a takeover by the U.S. Navy that would virtually end riding there. The Navy wants to expand the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms into the 189,000-acre Johnson Valley area, which is a long-standing and popular area that is across the San Bernardino Mountains from Los Angeles.

ORBA-Logo-8-8-12The California Motorized Recreation Council (CMRC), Ecologic Partners, and Tierra Del Sol Four Wheel Drive Club (TDS), have started formulating a unified effort to defend Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area.

On May 21, 2013 Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Desert Protective Council (DPC) filed a lawsuit to stop open riding in the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The suit alleges that California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) is not enforcing various Public Resources Codes with respect to trail maintenance and environmental protection.

The Ocotillo Wells SVRA is a very special place to the Off-Road Community and people from all over the country. Not only has it been the location of the popular TDS Desert Safari, but also many of us have raised our families there.  This park was set aside specifically for open OHV recreation.

tds-4x4-logo-6-5-13On May 21, 2013 Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Desert Protective Council (DPC) filed a lawsuit to stop open riding in the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). The suit alleges that California Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks) is not enforcing various Public Resources Codes with respect to trail maintenance and environmental protection.

Tierra Del Sol 4 Wheel Drive Club is currently consulting with our attorney on the best way to respond to this lawsuit. The Ocotillo Wells SVRA is a very special place to our members and people from all over the country. Not only has it been the location of our TDS Desert Safari, but many of us have raised our families there.  This park was set aside specifically for open OHV recreation.

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.”

The Off Road Business Association (ORBA) has joined the growing number of individuals and associations looking to affect the national elections of key states in hopes that pro-trail candidates will win back the Senate. OHV Enthusiasts now have their own national Political Action Committee or PAC so it was an easy decision for the ORBA Board of Directors to seek support. Offsetting the big money of the environmental movement will be no easy task, but at least the OHV industry is making headway.

Don Amador founder of the Trail PAC explained the scenario in 3 key races in which Pro OHV candidates are facing attacks. George Allen in Virginia, Denny Rehberg in Montana, and Heather Wilson, in New Mexico.  In Wilsons race in New Mexico five “Big Green” groups have formed a coalition to defeat Wilson, who is running for the seat left vacant by Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s retirement. Her Democratic opponent is Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., a board member of the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “That group has a long history of opposing responsible OHV recreation on public lands,” Amador said.

WASHINGTON, DC (June 22) — A spokesman for the BlueRibbon Coalition, a national trail-based recreation group, is testifying today at a hearing held by the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. The hearing will be at the 1324 Longworth House Office Building at 10 a.m.

In 2002, Dirt Rider Magazine listed the Clear Creek Management Area (CCMA) as one of the top 10 OHV recreation sites in the country. This popular off-road area was closed by an emergency closure order issued by the Bureau of Land Management in May of 2008. The unit remains closed to all publics. While the closure only “technically” closed 33,000 acres, it functionally closed 75,000 acres, since practically all route networks originate in the closure area.

Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, “I believe the Hollister Field Office, with the Environmental Protection Agency as an accomplice, has failed to fulfill its congressional multiple-use mandate via its current effort to use junk science and personal agendas in an ongoing scheme to close public lands and create de facto Wilderness at CCMA without Congressional approval or direction.”

“I believe that Congress must intervene and help the public get answers to the many unanswered questions regarding the bizarre and historic closure of CCMA to all human uses and the ongoing decision-making process surrounding the May 2008 emergency closure,” Amador concludes.

OAKLEY, CA (May 23) – A national trail-based recreation group continues its strong opposition to a proposed military base expansion into a popular OHV recreation area in Southern California.  The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) submitted comments on May 19, 2011, that are directed to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 29 Palms Training Land Acquisition/Airspace Establishment Study.

BRC believes all of the action alternatives (1-6) are basically “closure of Johnson Valley OHV area” alternatives. The action alternatives would practically or functionally close the entire 180 thousand acre Johnson Valley OHV area to public use.

Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition, states, “BRC has reviewed the Draft EIS and continues in our strong opposition to the entire project including the proposed withdrawal. BRC believes the EIS is fatally flawed and is not in compliance with NEPA.”

Amador continues, “BRC believes the Corps has failed to meaningfully explain the ‘need’ in the purpose and need section.  Aside from not identifying the proper basis for an increased training land-base, the purpose and need statement blithely ignores any discussion of the balance necessitated by any project of this nature. BRC believes the EIS/project should be withdrawn and shelved given its fatal flaws, public objection to the project, and national economic crisis.”

BRC continues to encourage its members to submit public comments by the May 26, 2011, deadline.

Link to BRC comment letter