JOHNSON VALLEY, CA – With just under a week until federal sequestration cuts are set to go into effect, the Secretary of the Navy is curiously seeking Congressional approval to move forward with base expansion at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California. Spanning nearly 600,000 acres, the combat center is the largest Marine base in the world with a comparable land mass to Rhode Island. Despite strong public opposition and a potential sequester that will cut tens of billions from the Pentagon budget this year, the Marines are asking Congress to approve an acquisition of 168,151 additional acres; roughly the land equivalent of the country of Singapore.
The dust has settled after the annual King of the Hammers High Desert race in Johnson Valley, but the battle to Save “The Hammers” speeds on. The excitement leading up to the race was a great springboard and the CMRC (California Motorized Recreation Council) was able to collect 25,000 petition signatures in less than two weeks.
Here’s an update on what’s happening with the movement to preserve the Johnson Valley OHV area, threatened by proposed expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine base onto public lands.
The CMRC is the non-profit collective of California organizations spearheading the Save the Hammers campaign. The CMRC has secured a lobbyist to battle for the cause in Washington and the 25,000 petition signatures collected means the White House must respond. An amendment was signed and passed into law back in December requiring the Marines to return and conduct more research to take a look at the financial impact and to examine alternatives promoting co-use of the land. Unfortunately, the Marines responded by submitting their “record of decision” to the House Armed Service Committee indicating they’ve had no change of plans.
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.