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Save the Hammers - Johnson Valley -Discussion and Updates

Discussion in 'Land Use Issues' started by Tbars4, February 22, 2013.

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    1. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..This is also known World Wide as the area which holds the "King of the Hammers" offroad race..

      If you have any updates and or would like to discuss this, please doso here..

      ____________________________________________________

      Save the Hammers

      http://savethehammers.org/sth/

      Thank you for visiting the Save The Hammers web site. The Johnson Valley OHV area, which is home to a series of

      off-road trails known as The Hammers, is currently at risk due to the proposed expansion of the 29 Palms Marine Base.

      29 Palms is the largest Marine base in the world and at 930 sq. miles which is about the size of the state of Rhode Island.

      The Marines proposed expansion would include acquiring an additional 250 sq. miles

      which is the land equivalent to acquiring the country of Singapore. Some of the land for this expansion

      will be taken from the Johnson Valley OHV area. This expansion would mean the permanent loss

      of half of the California desert available to the public.

      With the utmost respect for our nation's military and national defense,

      we are opposed to the expansion of the 29 Palms Marine base for the following reasons:

      · Loss of public lands means loss of a way of life for hundreds of thousands of Americans

      · The expansion will cost tax payers millions and the Marines have publicly stated the land is only needed 2 months a year.

      · Economic reports show neighboring communities and small businesses could lose $100 Million annually due to base expansion.

      · The Johnson Valley OHV area is a national treasure and visitors from all over the world travel to Johnson Valley annually.

      · The Marine Base expansion will negatively impact the surrounding communities quality of life with increased noise from

      training maneuvers and decreased revenue at local businesses

      · The Marines expansion plans estimate that several thousand adult tortoises and even more juvenile tortoises could be lost
      due to ordnance and and Marine movements.

      Sign the Petition here...

      https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pe...ms-marine-base-expansion-keep-public/5r0C7Xw4

       
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    3. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      Marines release Record of Decision on Johnson Valley

      http://www.cal4wheel.com/southern-c...-release-record-of-decision-on-johnson-valley

      Marines Record of Decision will not stop united effort to save Johnson Valley

      On February 13, 2013, the Secretary of the Navy released their Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms California. The ROD was initially expected in September but has been delayed more than six months due to a united effort from both the neighboring communities to 29 Palms and the off road community to stop the base expansion onto public lands. Normally the ROD is considered the final step in the base expansion process; however, due to overwhelming opposition, the Marines still have many obstacles to overcome in their efforts to expand.

      With the release of the ROD, the Department of Defense must submit a bill that requires Congress’ approval to withdraw the land from public use to be given to the Department of Defense. Congress’ approval may prove difficult for the Marines as Congress passed a separate bill requiring the Marines further investigate and submit a report to Congress exploring the negative financial impact the expansion. The bill also requires the Marines further investigate alternatives that could allow training and public use to co-exist. This report is due to Congress by April 1. As of February 13, 2013 this report had not been submitted to Congress.

      Additionally, a petition submitted to whitehouse.gov opposing the base expansion has received more than 27,000 signatures, meeting the necessary requirement for a formal response from the White House. The response is expected shortly after the petition’s completion on February 14. With a response pending from the executive branch and additional requirements from the legislative branch not yet addressed, the Marines' release of the ROD seems premature, as input from either branches could significantly impact the options for expansion.

      Opponents to base expansion state that the Marines desired alternative will unnecessarily cost tax payers millions as well as negatively impact the economies of neighboring communities and small businesses that rely on Johnson Valley for their livelihood. “The biggest question we are asking of the Marines is why do they need this land? And they have yet to give the public a good answer,” said Dave Cole, founder of King of The Hammers, a popular BLM-approved off-road permitted special event that attracts more than 30,000 spectators from around the world, and takes place in Johnson Valley each February.

      The Marines have publicly stated they are reducing their forces by 20,000 over the next 5 years, but claim the expansion is needed to do larger training exercises. More than $120 million in taxpayer dollars has been set aside to buy out existing mining claims in Johnson Valley. Additional money will be spent on securing the new borders. “This land has been open to the public for so long, that there will be families coming out to recreate that will have no idea that they are trespassing on a Marine Base,” said Fred Wiley of the Off Road Business Association. Many estimate it could be five years before the new perimeters are secured for training purposes.

      An alternative has been proposed that could meet the Marines training requirements without negative financial impact to tax payers or permanently closing public lands. The California Motorized Recreational Council (CMRC) has proposed the Marines look at Alternative 4 of the six alternatives currently proposed by the Marines. This alternative has the Marines training from west to east and would keep live fire training off of public lands. If the Marines chose this alternative and worked with Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to obtain permits to train, the land could be co-used.

       
    4. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..I had received this in an email from Daniel Sadowski (Congressional Affairs Manager) of SEMA as they have joined with ORBA in the fight to save the Hammers..

      ..The original link with this info he sent to me is found here as it will be released on Rockcrawler.com..
      http://m.rockcrawler.com/?url=http:...-ohv-recreation-area/&dm_redirected=true#2885

      ____________________________________________________________


      SEMA HAMMERS MESSAGE: SAVE JOHNSON VALLEY OHV RECREATION AREA
      By:
      RockCrawler.com

      sema SEMA HAMMERS MESSAGE: SAVE JOHNSON VALLEY OHV RECREATION AREA TWENTYNINE PALMS, CA. (Feb. 7, 2013) – The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has joined with the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and a coalition of other land use advocacy organizations to keep the Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area open to enthusiasts.

      The Marine Corps wants to expand its base at Twentynine Palms, California to include ownership of nearly 147,000 acres of adjacent land in Johnson Valley in order to conduct large-scale training exercises for one or two months a year.

      “OHV racing is one of SEMA’s fastest growing enthusiast markets,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “Many of our member companies provide the equipment necessary for teams to compete and enthusiasts to enjoy the sport. Given the strong interest our members have in preserving Johnson Valley, SEMA looks forward to working with the Marine Corps to find a solution that allows for both military training and recreational pursuits.”

      Kersting attended the 2013 King of the Hammers, known as the toughest one day off-road race in the world, to show SEMA’s support for a special-use permit compromise. Racers take advantage of the area’s unique geography to race Ultra 4 vehicles on a dry lake bed at speeds over 100 miles per hour and then rock crawl through boulder fields.

      Johnson Valley draws at least 200,000 visitors annually and generates nearly $200 million each year for the local economy as a result of the Kings of the Hammers event, scores of other organized enthusiast events, and individual off-highway vehicle activities.

      The OHV community has also petitioned the White House for support of the special-use permit approach. Thanks in part to SEMA’s enthusiast outreach organization, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) ( www.semasan.com ), more than 25,000 signatures required for an official Administration response were received in just two weeks. The community is now awaiting a White House response.
      About SEMA
      SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association founded in 1963, represents the $29.99 billion specialty automotive industry of 6,537 member-companies. It is the authoritative source for research, data, trends and market growth information for the specialty auto parts industry. The industry provides appearance, performance, comfort, convenience and technology products for passenger and recreational vehicles. For more information, contact SEMA at 1575 S. Valley Vista Dr., Diamond Bar, CA 91765, tel: 909/396-0289 , or visit www.sema.org or www.enjoythedrive.com .


      Press Release Johnson Valley OHV Off-Road Business Association ORBA SEMA
       
    5. Paul

      Paul Elite Explorer

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      Not that I'm rooting for sequestration, but would have to think that significant DOD funding cuts would put the Twenty-Nine Pines expansion on the "short-list" of things shelved. . .

      Paul
      '91 Sport
       
    6. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..With that in mind they went ahead and did their ROD...

      ..This is the Marine Corps...If they want it, they will take it..:salute:


      ..Hopefully this will not happen and things will stay as they are but since the ROD was filed, this claiming of the land is proceeding forward...

      ..Now is the time for people from all across the States to be heard...Please click on the link in the previous post and sign...

      ..They need to know we care and want to continue to use this land.
       
    7. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..I just received this..:popcorn:

      Marines Continue to Pursue Costly Land Grab Despite Public Outcry
      http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/2/prweb10482803.htm

      Johnson Valley, CA (PRWEB) February 28, 2013

      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[1] reports the California Motorized Recreational Council(CMRC). 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[2]; roughly the land equivalent of the country of Singapore.

      The majority of land targeted for expansion is an extremely popular recreation area in Johnson Valley, CA. The expansion will cost tax payers hundreds of millions[3]. More than $120 Million alone will be required to buy out existing mining claims. The Marines also estimate the expansion will require adding 110 new personnel despite looming budget cuts[4].

      “The Marines have an alternative that would meet their training purposes and wouldn’t require spending millions buying out public rights to public land. So the question remains; if they can’t afford it and they don’t really need it, why continue with this expansion when faced with force reductions and looming budget cuts?” asked Dave Cole, founder of “King of The Hammers”, a popular off road event that attracts more than 30,000 spectators annually to Johnson Valley. The alternative that Cole references is outlined in the Marines Environmental Impact Statement regarding base expansion as proposed Alternative 4[4].

      The Secretary of the Navy released the Record of Decision (ROD) outlining a plan to move forward with expansion last week[5]. In releasing the ROD, Marines have largely ignored more than 40,000 comments of opposition as well as a congressional bill signed into law in late 2012 requiring the Marines further investigate the economic impact of expansion. Despite the Congressional bill, the Marines presented a report to Congress last week that continued to cite data from 2004 with no additional research conducted by the Marines(6).

      “In 2004, the economy was strong and we were looking for Bin Laden. Nine years later we are leaving Afghanistan, facing dire economic conditions at home and grasping to save what is left of our public lands,” said Fred Wiley, CEO of the Off Road Business Association. He continued by saying, “For the Marines to cite outdated data as justification for expansion is irresponsible. We hope Congress sees through this and fails to approve an expensive and unnecessary expansion.”

      The Marines are expected to seek congressional approval as part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

      The Marines are expected to seek congressional approval as part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.
      To learn more about Save the Hammers, log on to http://www.savethehammers.org.

      About the California Motorized Recreational Council (CMRC):
      CMRC is based out of Bakersfield, CA and combines the land use efforts of the eight largest Off Highway Vehicle organizations in California.

      Some more links to reference

      1. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/johnson-497563-valley-training.html
      2. http://www.mydesert.com/article/201.../Navy-expansion-could-halt-King-Hammers-event
      3. http://www.slideshare.net/JeffKnoll/johnson-valley-economic-impact-report
      4.http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Port... Notice No6 Project Schedule Update Draft.pdf
      5. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-02-19/pdf/2013-03692.pdf
      6.http://www.29palms.marines.mil/Port...port to Congress - NDAA FY13 Section 2856.pdf
       
    8. mrboyle

      mrboyle I Drive By Brail Moderator Emeritus

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    9. Turdle

      Turdle I bake stuff Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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    10. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      Last edited: March 7, 2013
    11. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      California’s Johnson Valley OHV Area Guaranteed Temporary Protection from Marine Base Expansion

      http://www.sema.org/sema-enews/2012...mporary-protection-from-marine-base-expansion

      Thanks to the efforts of SEMA, the Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) and a coalition of other land use groups, continued off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to Johnson Valley, California, has been guaranteed for now by the U.S. Congress. Congress has included a provision with the 2013 Defense Authorization Act that requires the U.S. Marines to study alternative ways to share the area with the OHV community without taking ownership of the land. 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.

      Johnson Valley is home to “King of the Hammers” and many other OHV events. The land has been controlled for years by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which provides special-use permits for various motorized recreation activities. The U.S. Marines want to expand their base at Twentynine Palms, California, to include nearly 147,000 acres of adjacent land within Johnson Valley in order to conduct large-scale training exercises for one or two months per year. The land-use coalition is urging the Marines to simply obtain BLM special-use permits. Any transfer of land rights is subject to Congressional approval. Final action on legislation directing the Marines to conduct an OHV study is expected to be completed in the next few days.

      For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org
       
    12. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..A couple more updates..Taking place today..

      Rep. Paul Cook Offers Alternative Plan to Twentynine Palms Base Expansion

      April 19, 2013

      WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Marine Corps’ proposal to expand the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California:

      “The training of the U.S. Marine Corps is vital to the safety of the American people, and the exercises taking place on the Twentynine Palms base enable our Marine forces to defend our nation and its allies throughout the world. However, I can’t support the expansion plan offered by the Marine Corps, which would hand them ownership of Johnson Valley. Marine Corps ownership would prevent many public-space activities, including big public off-highway events like King of the Hammers, from taking place. Offroaders and other users of Johnson Valley make huge contributions to the economic well-being of the Morongo Valley, and losing that revenue during slow economic times would be devastating.



      “Protecting the Marine Corps’ budget is extremely important to me, and I believe the funds set aside for purchasing this land for the Marine Corps could be put to better use.

      “Instead, I’m authoring a plan that would create the Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area and keep the land in the hands of the Bureau of Land Management. Marine training could still take place at specific times, but only with agreement by the Bureau of Land Management and only at times that would not interfere with the many off-highway motor vehicle events in the area.”

      Rep. Cook’s proposal would withdraw the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) area for the purposes of recreation and military use and designate it as the Johnson Valley National OHV Recreational Area. The withdrawn area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including but not limited to off-highway vehicle use, camping, and hiking. U.S. Marine Corps activities would be permitted to take place twice annually and could not include any explosives that could be left behind without detonating.

      Cook continued, “For the sake of public safety, it’s essential to set a standard for the type of ordnance used in Johnson Valley. You have offroaders and hikers moving through there constantly. Nothing would be worse than a family coming across unexploded ordnance and having a deadly incident occur. That’s why my proposal limits military use to smaller arms.”

      Cook’s proposal is scheduled to be presented next Friday, April 26, in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

      A member of the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, Cook 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.
       
    13. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..Note: This is taking place today...Stay tuned..

      April 23, 2013



      Rep. McKeon Backs Rep. Cook’s Alternative Twentynine Palms Base Plan

      WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Yucca Valley) today announced key support for his alternative plan for the proposed Twentynine Palms Marine base expansion.

      Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), who is Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, stated the following:

      “I am happy for the opportunity to cosponsor the ‘Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area Establishment Act.’ I commend Congressman Cook for taking up this issue and introducing this legislation. While we have been working this particular issue for several years now, it was Mr. Cook’s leadership and unique insight that has created a balanced approach. This legislation provides the Marine Corps with increased training capability and ensures our off-highway vehicle community has a safe and protected recreational area. I look forward to working with Congressman Cook on this important legislation.”



      Cook said, “I’m pleased to have the support of Chairman McKeon. His name carries a lot of weight in Congress when it comes to military issues. After announcing my plan last week, I’ve been encouraged by the feedback I’ve received from constituents. Public safety is a key consideration, and I think this plan protects off-roaders while still allowing limited military exercises which do not endanger public safety.”

      Rep. Cook’s proposal would withdraw the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) area for the purposes of recreation and military use and designate it as the Johnson Valley National OHV Recreational Area. The withdrawn area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including but not limited to off-highway vehicle use, camping, and hiking. U.S. Marine Corps activities would be permitted to take place twice annually and could not include any explosives that could be left behind without detonating.

      Cook’s bill is scheduled to be presented this Friday, April 26, in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

      A member of the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, Cook 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.
       
    14. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      From Congressman Cook's site..
      https://iqconnect.lmhostediq.com/iqextranet/view_newsletter.aspx?id=100584&c=CA08PC



      Update..From the Daily Press..
      http://www.vvdailypress.com/articles...ton-gains.html

       
    15. Rick

      Rick Pumpkin Pilot Staff Member Admin Elite Explorer

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      That really is great news:chug: I hope it continues to move along smoothly.
       
    16. Randall

      Randall Demon4x4 Member

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      Now raising funds for lobbyists to work toward approving an OHV designation. I urge all to donate. :D

      Make your donations at:

      Save the Hammers



      [​IMG]

      Make your donations at:

      Save the Hammers



      You can also donate by ordering this t-shirt:
      [​IMG]

      http://www.genright.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=TSHIRTSTH

      Sent from my iPhone 4S using Tapatalk 2
       
      Last edited: June 12, 2013
    17. RockRanger

      RockRanger Elite Ranger

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      Like that shirt. Just bought one.
       
    18. obie

      obie Elite Explorer

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      I donated. I might never make it out there, but I don't really like the government buying more land that tons of people use, even if I was a Marine myself.
       
    19. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ...A little story about that shirt...

      ..The picture Randall posted was taken in the Gen-Right tent at the King of the Hammers and that is where I received my shirt...:biggthump

      ..Gen Right held a dinner in their tent for those who donated and also bought a shirt during this event...

      ..At this dinner we got to meet with not only Rep. Paul Cook, Jeff Knoll, but also the heads of organizations such as O.R.B.A , C.O.R.V.A., and the S.E.M.A. representatives from Washington D.C. who are also fighting diligently for this cause...With all the organizations under one tent it was crowded but nobody cared as it was to get together before the battle began..

      ..There are many other people who are not so famous who are giving up all their free time to do mailers, create letters, make phone calls, do follow ups, and contact and report daily in order to fight this battle...Without their help too this fight would suffer greatly..

      ...If you see someone wearing one of these shirts please Thank them for sharing in the cause..:salute:

      ..It's funny as I get asked about "What is the Hammers" down at the beach communities as people have never heard of the Hammers nor are most aware of where Johnson Valley is...But they definitely show interest when you speak of Government trying to take over more public land...:nono:

      ..This is happening at the same time they grounded the "Blue Angels" for the rest of the year due to lack of funding..:(

      ..Anyways, Buy the shirt, Wear the shirt, and take the time to talk about this with anyone who ask..

      ..Think about it...From a small group of people to A National OHV Park..

      ..Who'd a thunk it...

      [​IMG]

      ..and let's not forget about Save the Hammers Chairman Jeff Knoll..:salute:

      [​IMG]

      ..Here he is pictured in D.C. with Rep. Paul Cook..

      [​IMG]

      ..Some of the other groups under the umbrella of CMRC fighting our fight..:D

      ..Check out ORBA's page here..
      http://www.orba.biz/saving-johnson-valley-gains-traction/

      ..Check out SEMA's site too..
      http://www.sema.org/sema-news/2013/...ge-to-save-johnson-valley-ohv-recreation-area
       
    20. Randall

      Randall Demon4x4 Member

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      I went ahead and ordered myself a shirt, so I can be like Ted. :D
       
    21. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..Then I have done my job..:salute:

      ..I did wear my t-shirt in Moab this year..

      ..Anyone attending an Ultra4 event can also purchase these t-shirts there too..;)
       
    22. Randall

      Randall Demon4x4 Member

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      Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
       
    23. mrboyle

      mrboyle I Drive By Brail Moderator Emeritus

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      What Randall is trying to say is we all need to take a few minutes and go to http://savethehammers.org/sth/ and donate. In order to keep this land open to the public we need this bill to pass. In order to get it through the anti ohv Senate we* are going to have to play the game of lobbying, in order to do that we* need money to hire lobbiests.
      PLEASE donate, weither you ever plan to set foot outside of your state or not.

      Remember, this isn't just about saving Johnson Valley, its about setting precedence for definding all public land. To this point in time we* have always been a reactive force when it comes to land closure. By stepping up and batteling for this measure we* are taking the fight to the proactive side and showing the antis that we are serious about maintaining our rights to access tha which is rightfully ours.

      * we = OHV community
       
    24. Randall

      Randall Demon4x4 Member

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      Well stated, Mike.


      Even if it is just $5, that's better than nothing. Every little bit helps, as they say.

      Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
       
    25. mounty71

      mounty71 It's green, not gray. Elite Explorer

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      Bump, made a donation last night. Well worth a small expense to help keep my favorite place open for use.
       
    26. Tbars4

      Tbars4 Moderator Emeritus Elite In Memoriam

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      ..Anyone else have any firm information on the outcome of this?

      ..I heard it passed but did not hear if Johnson Valley became the first Federal OHV Park. I also heard the Marines have the area for 60 days out of the year but for what 60 days or any further info has eluded me..:shifty_ey
       

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