REPORT ON BASE EXPANSION IMPACT ON OFF-HIGHWAY RIDING SOUGHT | Born To Ride Motorcycle Magazine - Motorcycle TV, Radio, Events, News and Motorcycle Blog


Published on May 21, 2012 under Born To Ride

Report on California base expansion impact on off-highway riding sought

The U.S. House has approved legislative language that would require the Marine Corps to produce a report on how a proposed base expansion would affect off-highway riding near San Bernardino, Calif.

The language is in an amendment that was offered by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) and included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 4310). The House passed the bill by a 299-120 vote on May 18. The measure now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The report would focus on the proposed expansion of the Twenty-Nine Palms military base in Johnson Valley, Calif. The report would cover the impact on off-highway vehicle recreation in the Johnson Valley region, along with alternatives for achieving the goals of the military and the OHV recreation communities.

“This report would allow for more time to, hopefully, come to a solution that meets the training needs of the military while maintain access for motorized recreation,” said Sheila Andrews, AMA senior legislative assistant.

Several years ago, the U.S. Department of the Navy began the formal process to take over some 365,906 acres of public land near San Bernardino to use for live-fire training for the Marines.

The move threatens the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Riding area, a long-standing and popular area that is across the San Bernardino Mountains from Los Angeles.

“While we certainly believe that the U.S. Marines, like all of America’s military branches, should be the best trained in the world, we don’t believe that it is necessary to ban off-highway riders from the area to accomplish that mission,” Andrews said. “We, and other concerned off-highway recreation groups, hope to work with the military and Congress to ensure the needs of both the military and off-highway riders are met.”

The Navy filed an application with the U.S. Interior Department seeking control of the public land in question, which is now under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Navy also is seeking dibs on some 72,186 acres of non-federal land in case one day that is acquired by the federal government.

The land, which equals about 658 square miles, borders the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, and includes a large portion of land in the 189,000-acre Johnson Valley area.

Ultimately, Congress will decide whether the Navy should get control of the land.

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