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.
The final environmental impact statement is part of an effort by the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County to expand its land holdings to allow for more live-fire training. The Marine Corps is part of the U.S. Navy.
The Navy released the final environmental impact statement on July 27, with a comment deadline of August 27, and plans to issue a record of decision to finalize its proposal on Sept. 28. But the proposal would still need congressional approval. The military hopes to begin training on the land in 2014.
“While we certainly believe that the Marines Corps, 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 vehicle riders from the area to accomplish that mission,” said Nick Haris, the AMA’s western states representative. “We, and other concerned off-highway recreation groups, will continue working with the military and Congress to ensure the needs of both the military and the OHV community are met.”
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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 the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA honors the heroes and the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.
Source: American Motorcyclist Association