Effort to protect California's Johnson Valley riding area clears major hurdle
June 14, 2013
PICKERINGTON, 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.
"This legislation has cleared an important hurdle," Cook said when the proposal cleared a House committee earlier. "Support for it was overwhelmingly bipartisan. My concern has always been about public safety. The Johnson Valley is one of the few places left for off-highway vehicle recreation. This is a balanced approach which protects public safety while still allowing for recreational use."
Cook is a member of the House Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs Committees. He served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.
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.
Cook's proposal would designate Johnson Valley OHV as the Johnson Valley National OHV Recreation Area. The area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including, but not limited to, OHV use, camping and hiking. Marine Corps activities would be allowed twice a year and couldn't include any explosives that could be left behind.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through its support of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com