ORBA-Logo-8-8-12The Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) reports that the California State Parks has filed their formal response to the PEER/DPC lawsuit seeking to limit open riding within Ocotillo Wells SVRV. The response requests the judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

The response, demurrer, cites that Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Desert Protection Council (DPC) have improperly invited the court to direct State Parks how to run the SVRA, something the law does not allow. In order to pursue this lawsuit, PEER/DPC must identify a specific non-discretionary task, required by law, that State Parks has failed to perform. That is something the filing by PEER/DPC fails to identify.

After nearly 18 months of hard-fought litigation, EcoLogic Partners, Inc. (“EcoLogic”) has prevailed in its CEQA lawsuit against the California Department of Parks and Recreation (“State Parks”) over the closure of recreational vehicle routes in Truckhaven (also known as the “Freeman Property”).

On October 16, 2012, Judge Jeffrey Jones of the Imperial County Superior Court issued his final Judgment in the action, finding that State Parks violated CEQA when it approved a “boundary signage and fencing” project without first analyzing whether and to what extent the project would have adverse impacts on natural and recreational resources. As a result of the Court’s ruling, State Parks’ decision to approve the boundary signage and fencing project has been set aside.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The Department of the Navy has released a final environmental impact statement for the expansion of a Marine base in California that calls for closing a large portion of the popular Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Riding Area, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The preferred alternative spelled out in the final environmental impact statement would allow public use of only 40,000 acres of the 190,000-acre Johnson Valley OHV area, and for only 10 months a year. Johnson Valley is currently under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

GenRight Off Road recently sent out this information regarding the Johnson Valley OHV area, a location for a number of off-road races as well as a popular weekend destination for off-road enthusiasts. Here is the collection of information they sent out regarding the area:

There is still time to act to help us keep the Johnson Valley OHV area open to the public!

As you are probably well aware, the Johnson Valley OHV area is very near and dear to our heart!  We are doing everything within our power to keep the area open to OHV use.  We ask that you please take a second and submit a comment to the Marines as to why it’s important to you.

Listed below is a summary of points taken from attending the public information meetings over the last two days.  You are more than welcome to use this information when writing your comments!

There is so much information being put forth that it is hard to digest…

1] The Marines are telling us what land they want and how they are going to get it. [FALSE]

2] There’s nothing we can do so stop from losing our land. [FALSE]

This comment period is vitally as it’s the public’s chance to voice our opinion. WE, THE PEOPLE if we want to be heard and want reaction. There is an independent company to compile our comments and put into action the alternative that is going to be the best compromise for everyone.

Originally there was a ‘No-Action Alternative’ and five Alternative plans proposed. After the first comment period in which nearly 20,000 comments were received, the Marines created Alternative 6 and named it “The Preferred Alternative” DON’T BE FOOLED as this IS NOT the preferred alternative for us OHV people! We want Alternative #3 as it leaves 100% of Johnson Valley open 12 months out of the year. Alternative #6 would only leave 44% of Johnson Valley open for only 10 months out of the year.

Furthermore, Alternative #6 has a loophole that could keep it closed to the public for the entire year. **The ’10 month open window’ is subject to a determination by the Commanding General that the area has been returned to a condition suitable for authorized public access following each Marine Expeditionary Brigade Exercise. The “compromise” is that the Marine’s only need two months out of the year to complete the ‘full scale exercise’ therefore 10 months would be open to the public. It is entirely possible that the Commanding General could declare that [due to budgetary constraints] the Military does not have the funds to “return the area to a condition suitable for authorized public access [‘clean up’] therefore leaving our now limited area shut down.

Alternative #3:

This option leaves Johnson Valley OHV area untouched. Rather, it states the Marine Corp would have to move the proposition to the East of their current boundaries. This would mean that the Government would need to de-designate wilderness area. Note this particular ‘wilderness area’ was used by General Patton to train military before it was designated as wilderness. The other Alternative de-designates OHV areas that are being used by Americans for recreation, living, income and more.

The following are “comments” for Alternative #3: (reasons to expand to the East by 200,000 acres)

· No impact to OHV opportunities in Johnson Valley

· More compatible areas with the proposed action

· Less impact to local business owners

· Less impact to recreational opportunities

· Less populated

· The area has already been used by the military in the past

· Economy will be less affected

Reasons against expansion to the West

· Reduction in area for off-road and outdoor recreational opportunities

· Reduction in area for the film industry

· Negative impact on the economy

· May impact public health and safety of surrounding communities

· May affect Southern California Edison (SCE) electric transmission facilities and/or distribution facilities

· May promote illegal riding

· Potential impact on groundwater supplies and quality

· Potential impact on biological resources (e.g., desert tortoise and prairie falcon)

Keep in mind that the King of the Hammers event draws over 30,000 for their one week event and the total comments received during the first comment period was less than 20,000


Physical bodies and written comments at the meetings are best – but if you can’t be there please…

Click here to vote for Alternative #3