WASHINGTON (June 17, 2013) — The U.S. House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a provision to save California's Johnson Valley OHV (off-highway vehicle) Recreation Area.
With the measure — HR 1960, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — passing in the House, the bill now will be considered by the U.S. Senate later this summer, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), a staunch proponent of its passage. It said final passage of the NDAA is not expected until this fall.
SEMA said HR 1960 includes a provision to end a five-year debate on how to expand the U.S. Marine Corps base at Twentynine Palms, Calif. Authored by Rep. Paul Cook, R-Calif., the provision allows the Marines to have access to the adjoining Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area for up to 60 days a year for training exercises, but the OHV area would be otherwise preserved for recreational use.
The provision protects OHV activities by establishing the "Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area" under continued management by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It provides for public participation in determining the dates for military activities that will be the least disruptive for OHV activities. The land is used year-round by OHV enthusiasts and is home to a number of motorized events that draw thousands of competitors and spectators to the area every year, SEMA said, including the famous King of the Hammers off-road race.
The Diamond Bar, Calif.-based trade group said its SEMA Action Network (SAN) "will continue to urge Senators to act quickly to approve the NDAA with the Johnson Valley provision included."