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Support the Bartlett Amendment to Request a Report from the U.S. Marine Corps on the proposed expansion of the Marine Corps Ground Air Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms to work with all stakeholders in the Johnson Valley Area

 

Bartlett Amendment 243 to HR 4310

Request for Marine Corps Land Acquisition Report

  • Currently, 189,000 acres of land under control of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), adjacent to the Marine Corps Ground Air Combat Center Twenty-Nine Palms, California, is designated by the 1980 California Desert Conservation Plan as an off-highway vehicle recreation area.
  • The Marine Corps wants to acquire 160,000 acres of this land, including the Johnson Valley area most heavily used for recreation.
  • Currently, only 2% of the California Desert is open for motorized off-highway vehicle recreation use with half of the land in the Johnson Valley area.
  • The Recreational Community use of Johnson Valley brings in over $70 million per year to the local economy. The Recreational Community includes:  Rock Hounds, Off-Highway Vehicles, Motorcycles, Bicycles, Campers, Hikers, Bird Watchers, Turtle Watchers, Model Airplane Groups and Commercial Movie Industry.
  • US Marine Corps has been working very closely with the Recreational Community and the Bureau of Land Management to find a compromise as acceptable to all parties.
  • The Marines plan to use this land for Marine Air Ground Task Force live fire and maneuver training year round while reserving 40,000 acres for co-use by the recreational community 10 months out of the year.
  • The Marine Corps is in the process of completing an Environmental Impact Study on the proposed expansion of 29 Palms.
  • Stakeholders in this region are working towards resolution for the proposed expansion.
  • I am very supportive of Marine Corps training, but want to ensure all the stakeholders have the opportunity to review the Marine Corps Report and work towards a common solution to minimize the impact on Johnson Valley for all stakeholders:

1.    A description of the actual training requirements for the proposed range and where those training requirements are currently being met to support combat deployments.

2.    Identify the impact on the off-road vehicle recreational users of the land, the economic impact on the local economy, the recreational industry and other stakeholders

3.    Identify any concerns with the Bureau of Land Management in their assessments of the impact on other users

4.    Identify the impact on the State of California’s Desert Conservation plan regarding allocation of the Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Areas

5.    Potential to use the same land without transfer, but under specific permits for use by the BLM

6.    Any potential on other BLM lands near the Marine Corps Ground Combat Center Twenty-nine Palms or other locations in the geographic region

 

  • This amendment also provides a Secretary of Defense Waiver of the Report in the event of national security need.

 

 

About the Author

Jeff Knoll is the former Event Director for the King of the Hammers event. He has raced various classes in SCORE, BITD, MORE, and MDR. Following the California 200, Knoll travelled to Washington, DC to meet with BLM officials regarding the Special Recreation Permit policies of the BLM. Knoll serves on the BLM’s Desert Advisory Sub-Committee regarding Special Recreation Permits. Knoll also drafted language for Nevada’s Senate Bill 156 in 2011 regarding action sports safety.

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