The battle that pitted the United States Marines against off road users at the Johnson Valley OHV area raged for five years and when it came to an end last month many off road organizations touted the outcome as a grand win for off roaders.
Yet the off road community lost the use of 87,697 acres of public lands. One organization compared it to the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area as being equivalent in size, as if that was proof that this was a win. They failed to mention that originally Johnson Valley was nearly twice the size of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.
So is it a win or not? Yes and no. Its a win if you look at it from the perspective that at risk was the entire Johnson Valley area. If the Marines had won the original battle and been able to take over all 180,000 acres that would have been an incredible loss. In looking at it from that angle, then yes, this is a win because the off roaders retained the use of a portion of the area and did not lose the entire area.
If you look at it from the perspective that instead of having the entire 180,000 acres for exclusive off road use, the off roaders now have only 43,231 for exclusive use, a mere 24% of the original area, and another 53,321 of shared used lands with the Marines, then it is a huge loss to the off road community.
Read the entire article by Kim Carpenter who has been a part of the five-year battle since day one. You’ll find it on page 33 in the digital edition of the January issue of S&S Off Road Magazine.