The U.S. Marines are seeking to expand their base at Twentynine Palms, California to include nearly 189,000 acres of adjacent land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The land is a designated off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation area and site of “King of the Hammers” and other OHV events throughout the year. The Marines would provide the OHV community with limited access to 40,000 acres for 10 months a year. The proposal is included in a long-awaited final environmental impact statement (FEIS). Any land transfer requires Congressional approval.
We Urge You to Submit Comments to the Marines Supporting an Alternative to the Base Expansion
• The Marines only need access to Johnson Valley for two months a year for large scale training maneuvers. Rather than taking ownership of the land, the Bureau of Land Management can issue special use permits to the Marines, as is done for OHV events such as “King of the Hammers.”
• The BLM permit solution guarantees shared access to the land by the Marines and the OHV community. The Marines are also relieved of the burden of managing the land for the 10 months a year they don’t need it.
• Congress is in the process of enacting legislation that will require the Marines to study alternative ways to share the land with the OHV community, such as with special permits.
• The Johnson Valley off-road area draws at least 200,000 visitors annually and may generate as much as $191 million annually into the economy.
The public comment deadline ends August 27, 2012.
For more information on Johnson Valley, contact Stuart Gosswein at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Will Wissman courtesy http://savethehammers.org/sth/