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  • Johnson Valley Marine Expansion Update

    I saw this today....It looks like there will be a few public meetings coming up soon.

    By DAVID DANELSKI
    The Press-Enterprise

    The military wants to expand its Twentynine Palms training grounds to take in more than two-thirds of the popular Johnson Valley off-road recreation area southeast of Barstow, according to U.S. Marine Corps documents released Friday.

    Under the Marines' preferred plan to expand the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, the military would control 146,667 acres in the Johnson Valley that now is a designated off-highway vehicle recreation area. The valley draws tens of thousands of off-road enthusiasts each year.

    The 932-square-mile combat center also could add another 21,304 acres at its southeast corner, northeast of Twentynine Palms.

    The proposal is among six alternatives being considered by the military to prepare troops for desert and urban warfare.

    Story continues below



    All but one alternative involves taking most of the 189,000-acre Johnson Valley OHV area.

    The disclosures contained in the 941-page environmental study fit with earlier statements by Marine Corps officials. Military officials at Twentynine Palms did not return a call Friday.

    Lt. Col. James McArthur said in an interview in late 2008 that Marine officials had determined that the Johnson Valley is best for live-fire exercises and maneuvers because it provides a natural extension of training corridors on the base.

    The expansion is needed, the military has said, so that Marines have enough space for three battalions to maneuver simultaneously using live ammunition accompanied by air support. Each battalion would have about 1,000 Marines aided by other troops performing command and logistics duties.

    Ray Pessa, a Yucca Valley resident who builds dune buggies, said the preferred plan is not a complete loss to off-roaders.

    He was part of a group that met with military officials and explained the importance of the Johnson Valley to various groups, including hikers, campers, wind sailors and rocket clubs.

    The preferred plan would allow public access on 38,137 acres in the southeast part of Johnson Valley for about 10 months each year. That would allow the popular "King of the Hammers" four-wheel-drive rock-crawler race to continue, he said. The annual event attracts about 8,000 people, Pessa said.

    Still, 108,530 acres of the Johnson Valley would be for military use only, including the Rock Pile and Bessemer Mine Road areas.

    "I am not in a position to argue with the military," Pessa said. "If the U.S. Marines say they need that area, then they do."

    Pessa added that off-roaders also are being pushed from public land because of new wildlife protections.

    "All over the country, public lands are being taken away," he said.

    The military's environmental impact statement will be open to public comments through May 26. It can be viewed at www.marines.mil/unit/29palms/las. Comments can be mailed to Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest, Attention: Twentynine Palms EIS Project Manager, 1220 Pacific Highway, San Diego, CA 92132-5190.

    The Marines will host public meetings on April 12, 13, and 14 in Joshua Tree, Ontario and Victorville, respectively.

    The military's news release did not state when a final decision is expected.

    Reach David Danelski at 951-368-9471 or ddanelski@PE.com

  • #2
    Times and exact locations for the meetings would have been a added bonus! Geez...

    Comment


    • #3
      I'll make the Victorville meet.Thanks for the post Mike
      Dennis and Tammy
      Its as much fun getting dirty as it is being dirty in a Jeep!

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm sure there will be more details as the date gets closer.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mkjeepers View Post
          That would allow the popular "King of the Hammers" four-wheel-drive rock-crawler race to continue, he said. The annual event attracts about 8,000 people, Pessa said.
          Those 8000 people that go to the KOH each year...
          Those left standing
          Will make millions
          Writing books on ways
          It should have been
          -Incubus "Warning"

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the update. We need to get those meetings posted as soon as they're announced and pack that place. The last time around the showing of 4x4'ers was less than acceptable. It only takes about an hour to attend!
            :gun:'99 TJ Sport:gun:

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by sarah View Post
              Thanks for the update. We need to get those meetings posted as soon as they're announced and pack that place. The last time around the showing of 4x4'ers was less than acceptable. It only takes about an hour to attend!

              Agreed. lets get out to the meetings and let it be heard.
              [CENTER][COLOR=#ff0000]Resistance Off Road
              [/COLOR]Join the Resistance...
              http://www.resistanceoffroad.us[/CENTER]

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              • #8
                Here is some more info on the subject. It has a link on the right side to send in your comment.

                http://www.marines.mil/unit/29palms/LAS/Pages/EIS.aspx

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                • #9
                  Mike,

                  Thank you for the info. I'll hit the Victorville meeting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    [COLOR="blue"]Here is the public input info. below. Or you can click on the link at the bottom of the website page in post #8[/COLOR]

                    The Department of the Navy, on behalf of the U.S.
                    Marine Corps and in cooperation with the Bureau of
                    Land Management and Federal Aviation Administration,
                    has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement
                    (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts
                    associated with the proposed expansion of the training
                    range at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
                    (Combat Center) at Twentynine Palms, Calif. The
                    proposed action would accommodate training exercises
                    for all elements of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

                    The U.S. Marine Corps
                    invites you to participate in
                    the 29Palms Training Land
                    Acquisition/Airspace
                    Establishment EIS Process
                    and Draft Conformity
                    Determinations

                    The U.S. Marine Corps wants your input!
                    Joshua Tree:
                    April 12, 2011
                    5-9 P.M.
                    Copper Mountain
                    College
                    Bell Center Gym
                    6162 Rotary Way
                    Joshua Tree, Calif.

                    Ontario:
                    April 13, 2011
                    5-9 P.M.
                    Ontario High School
                    Gym
                    901 W. Francis St.
                    Ontario, Calif.

                    Victorville:
                    April 14, 2011
                    5-9 P.M.
                    Hilton Garden Inn
                    Mirage/Sahara
                    Conference Center
                    12603 Mariposa Rd.
                    Victorville, Calif.
                    OPEN HOUSE PUBLIC MEETINGS

                    Submit written comments to:
                    Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest
                    ATTN: 29Palms EIS Project Manager
                    1220 Pacific Highway
                    San Diego, CA 92132-5190
                    Website: www.marines.mil/unit/29palms/las

                    Comments on the Draft EIS must be received or
                    postmarked by May 26, 2011, for consideration in
                    the Final EIS.

                    For more information visit: www.marines.mil/unit/29palms/las

                    There will not be a formal presentation.
                    The Navy has also completed a Clean Air Act
                    conformity evaluation, as prescribed by Mojave Desert
                    Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) Rule 2002
                    and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s
                    General Conformity Rule. The conformity evaluation
                    covers proposed emissions that would occur at the
                    Combat Center and within the Mojave Desert Air Basin
                    (MDAB). The conformity evaluation demonstrates that
                    the federal action conforms to the applicable ozone (O3)
                    and respirable particulates (PM10) State Implementation
                    Plan for the MDAB. In accordance with section 2002(F)
                    (2) of MDAQMD Rule 2002, the Draft O3 and PM10
                    Conformity Determinations are available for the next 30
                    days for review by interested parties at the address
                    listed above. Written comments may be submitted
                    during this period to this same address.

                    Comments on
                    the Conformity Determinations must be received or
                    postmarked by March 28, 2011.
                    Last edited by mkjeepers; 03-15-11, 06:17 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      ....and if anyone can read and understand what they are telling us in a gazillion pages, my hat is off to you.

                      One thing I thought was interesting is that they are going to use water to mitigate dust?????
                      Rich

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                      • #12
                        I'll be at the Ontario meeting one way or the other.
                        [CENTER][COLOR=#ff0000]Resistance Off Road
                        [/COLOR]Join the Resistance...
                        http://www.resistanceoffroad.us[/CENTER]

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                        • #13
                          I got a post card from them today about the meetings. So I'm glad to see that they are getting the word out. I will make the ontario meeting.
                          IN A LAND OF FREEDOM WE ARE HELD HOSTAGE BY THE TYRANNY OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!!

                          Better To Burn Out Than To Rust Out!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by curtis View Post
                            I got a post card from them today about the meetings. So I'm glad to see that they are getting the word out. I will make the ontario meeting.
                            SOrry for being out of the loop guys, but yeah, got one in the mail too, got my attention about this situation.

                            “Lead me, follow me, or get out of my way. ”
                            -Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by paulhead View Post
                              SOrry for being out of the loop guys, but yeah, got one in the mail too, got my attention about this situation.

                              Got mine in the mail also. Good to see that they are at least using the lists of folk who commented.
                              Rich

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