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Unread 10-30-2008, 03:33 PM   #1
Kiwi
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Help Keep Johnson Valley and the Hammers trails open

As I hope you know, access to Johnson Valley and the world famous Hammers trails are under threat from expansion of the Marine Corps base at 29 Palms in California. Please read the press release below and help by sending letters to your representatives as described.

Thanks for your help

================================================== ===========


Contact: Kurt Schneider
E-mail: kurtuleas@pirate4x4.com
El Dorado County: October 28, 2008

Pirate4x4.com unveils online letter generator to fight for OHV access
Pirate4x4.com uses newest campaign for Johnson Valley and the Hammers to announce letter generator.


The largest Off-Road website in the world, Pirate4x4.com has added a new tool for OHV enthusiasts to voice their opinions on route closures across the nation.

Piate4x4.com’s new letter generator will enable Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts of all types to send out letters via e-mail to many different decision makers at once. Unlike many “form letters’ campaigns that have been used in the past, this new letter generator allows users to type their own personalized letters and then send them off to several pre-determined e-mail addresses at once.

The current Pirate4x4.com letter campaign with the generator focuses on the United States Marines Corps expansion in to the Johnson Valley OHV area in Southern California. The Johnson Valley area is currently maintained by the BLM, and it contains the Hammers trail system which is considered a “Mecca” for OHV enthusiasts. The area is also used by many different types of recreationists including a broad range of motor-sports and hobbies; motorcycle and MX enthusiasts, ATV riders, sand-buggies, rally cars, hikers, campers, rock-hounds and RV-ers. Johnson Valley is also the home to the famous “King of the Hammers” 4x4 race that is held every year in the valley as well as many other sanctioned desert races.

The Marine Corps base at 29 Palms is now proposing a land withdrawal of 180,000 acres from the BLM in order to increase its training facilities for live-fire drills. This expansion would effectively shut the public out of this area and erase one of the most important trail systems for OHV users off the map forever.

This particular effort is not the first time Pirate4x4.com members have been active in land-use issues. The Pirate4x4.com letter generator has also been used for several issues important to the OHV community including addressing the Boxer/McCown Wilderness Bill, The Greenhorn OHV area, and helping to defeat a Smokey the Bear OHV public service announcement that portrayed OHV users in a bad light.

On March 12, 2008, the website also held a "virtual rally" to show opposition to the proposed expansion. During a 4-hour period, almost 1,500 participants voiced their opinion while over 27,000 views of the rally were registered. In the first hour of the rally, traffic on the website was so heavy that many rally participants could not log onto the website to voice their concerns, post family photos, and pleas for its traditional uses to be left alone. The rally thread currently has been viewed by over 57,000 people. To view the rally responses, please visit www.pirate4x4.com/jv

Pirate4x4.com is the largest off-road website in the world with over 110,000 members and a million visitors to the website a month.

The Pirate4x4.com letter generator can be found at: www.pirate4x4.com/letters

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Unread 10-31-2008, 06:35 AM   #2
Kiwi
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12 views so far, I guess that's 12 letters written?

This is the biggest open OHV area in the country that we may well loose. The Marine Corps have other options for expansion to the east, that's what we are trying to encourage and to leave the Johnson Valley area open for all forms of outdoor recreation.
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Unread 10-31-2008, 08:51 AM   #3
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I'm writing letters. I want to make sure the trails are open so I can go back someday.



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Unread 10-31-2008, 09:21 AM   #4
Kiwi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metal View Post
I'm writing letters. I want to make sure the trails are open so I can go back someday.


Thank you!
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Unread 10-31-2008, 11:38 AM   #5
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Sent!

Also need to send letters to Tahoe FS regarding over the snow travel, they are shooting for a hard 4 month closure with an option for extension.
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Unread 10-31-2008, 06:48 PM   #6
Kiwi
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Thanks, so who else has sent letters?
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Unread 11-01-2008, 12:17 AM   #7
roadking
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Sent!

Took 5 minutes...come on people!
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Unread 11-02-2008, 09:52 PM   #8
the_weirdo
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Letters sent. C'mon people, help out.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 10:11 PM   #9
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Letters sent.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 10:23 PM   #10
Joe Dillard
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Thanks for posting this Kiwi!

See ya' in Johnson Valley in a few weeks.
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Unread 11-03-2008, 07:39 AM   #11
Kiwi
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Come on folks, this impacts all of us, whether you use JV or not (yet). Many of you probably think "I'll never go there so why bother". As you get more into this sport/hobby/recreation, a lot of you will get drawn to the challenge of the JV trails. Not doing anything now, may mean you never get that chance. Loosing this area will have significant rammifications for all of us.

Please take 5 minutes to write, use the letter generator posted at the beginning of this thread if you like. This automatically will send letters to all of the key representives for this area. You don't need to hunt out the email addresses yourselves, it's all done for you.
Thanks!
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Unread 11-03-2008, 07:43 AM   #12
Kiwi
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Johnson Valley Notice of Intent

Here is the notice from the Defense Force. Notice that 4 of the 5 options listed take Johnson Valley OHV area. Option 3 goes to the east instead. The 6th option although not listed is to do nothing. We need to push hard for option 3.


[Federal Register: October 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 211)]
[Notices]
[Page 64604-64606]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr30oc08-33]

================================================== =====================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Department of the Navy


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for
the Proposed Acquisition of Lands and Establishment of Airspace
Contiguous to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine
Palms, CA

AGENCY: Department of the Navy, DoD.

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Pursuant to section (102)(2)(c) of the National Environmental
Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(c)), as implemented by the
Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508),
the Department of the Navy announces its intent to prepare an
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to study alternatives for meeting
Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) sustained, combined
arms, live-fire and maneuver training requirements. The proposed action
is to request the withdrawal of federal public lands, acquire state and
privately owned lands, and to seek the establishment of Special Use
Airspace with the effect of expanding the Marine Corps Air Ground
Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, California. The Department of
the Navy will prepare the EIS in cooperation with the Bureau of Land
Management and Federal Aviation Administration.

DATES: All written, oral, or telephonic comments regarding the scope of
issues that the Department of the Navy should consider during EIS
preparation must be received before January 31, 2009. Three public
scoping meetings have been scheduled and the meeting locations are as
follows:
1. December 3, 2009, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Twentynine Palms, CA;
2. December 4, 2009, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Victorville, CA;
3. December 5, 2009, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Ontario, CA.

ADDRESSES: Written comments or requests for inclusion on the EIS
mailing list may be submitted to Project Manager (Attn: Mr. Joseph
Ross), Box 788104, Bldg 1554, Rm 138, MAGTFTC/MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms,
CA 92278-8104. Public meeting locations are as follows:
1. Twentynine Palms Junior High School, Hay's Gym, 5798 Utah Trail,
Twentynine Palms, CA;
2. Hilton Garden Inn Victorville, 12603 Mariposa Road, Victorville,
CA;
3. Convention Center, 2000 E. Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Project Manager (Attn: Mr. Joseph
Ross), Box 788104, Bldg 1554, Rm 138, MAGTFTC/MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms,
CA 92278-8104; phone: 760-830-3764; e-mail: SMBPLMSWEBPAO@usmc.mil.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Each of the three scoping meetings will
consist of an informal, open house session with information stations
staffed by Marine Corps representatives. Public comment forms will be
available and gathered at the information stations, and a stenographer
will be available to take oral comments for inclusion in the record.
Details of the meeting locations will be announced in local newspapers.
Additional information concerning meeting times and the proposed
alternatives will be available on the EIS Web site located at http://
www.29palms.usmc.mil/las.
The meetings are designed to solicit input from agencies and the
affected public regarding issues or interests that should be studied or
the reasonable alternatives that should be considered for study to meet
Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) sustained, combined
arms, live-fire and maneuver training requirements. The public is
welcome to comment orally or by written comment forms at the meeting;
or, by sending a letter to Mr. Joe Ross, Project Manager, 29Palms
Proposed Training Land/Airspace Acquisition Project, MAGTFTC/MCAGCC,
Bldg 1554, Box 788104, Twentynine Palms, CA 92278-8104; by an e-mail to
SMBPLMSWEBPAO@usmc.mil; or by voice mail at 760-830-3764.
The EIS will consider alternatives for the proposed acquisition of
training land and accompanying Special Use Airspace sufficient to meet
the training requirements for three MEB battalions, as a Ground Combat
Element, and a correspondingly sized Air Combat Element to
simultaneously maneuver for 48-72 hours, using combined-arms and live
fire with their supporting Logistics Combat Element and Command
Element. To meet MEB training requirements which utilize weapons
systems and platforms currently and foreseeable in the Marine Corps
inventory, more contiguous military range land and airspace than is now
available for training anywhere in the United States would be required.
The requirement for MEB training reflects a shift in doctrine that
emerged in the 1990s that placed the MEB as the premier fighting force
that would be deployed to world crises in the foreseeable future. The
Marine Corps studied locations nationwide that might meet the training
requirements and concluded that the Southwest Region

[[Page 64605]]

range complex is the best location to meet them. This study further
determined that expansion at MCAGCC would be necessary to meet the
sustained MEB training requirement for a three battalion Ground Combat
Element to maneuver to a single objective. MCAGCC is the Marine Corps'
service-level training facility for Marine Air Ground Task Force
training, the place through which nearly all Marine Corps units rotate
for training before deployment.
The Marine Corps is studying various alternatives to meet MEB
training requirements at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, CA. At this time, it
is anticipated that the EIS will evaluate five action alternatives and
the No Action Alternative. The EIS will also consider any other
reasonable alternatives that are subsequently identified during scoping
or the preparation of the document. The Marine Corps will also evaluate
opportunities for co-use of the land, as part of the evaluation of
alternatives. The following is a summary of the alternatives that are
currently proposed to be studied in the Environmental Impact Statement.
Alternative 1 would add approximately 188,000 acres to the West of
the base and approximately 22,000 acres to the South of the base, and
accompanying Special Use Airspace. During a MEB training exercise,
three battalions would begin movement in a westerly direction from
different starting positions in the current MCAGCC range complex area
and converge on a single objective in the western part of what is
called ``Johnson Valley,'' conducting live-fire from ground- and air-
based combat elements throughout the training exercise. During non-MEB
training periods, any newly acquired installation lands would be used
for live-fire, combined arms training and other military training of
smaller units. With regard to any Special Use Airspace, this
alternative would establish Restricted Airspace over the Western Area
to accommodate live-fire from aviation and surface units. Special Use
Airspace over the proposed Southern expansion area would need to be
converted from Military Operational Airspace to Restricted Airspace.
Alternative 2 would add approximately 112,000 acres to the West of
the base, the same 22,000 acres to the South as in Alternative 1, and
accompanying Special Use Airspace. During a MEB training exercise,
three battalions would begin movement in a westerly direction from
different starting positions in the current MCAGCC range complex area
and converge on a single objective in the center of what is called
``Johnson Valley,'' conducting live-fire from ground- and air-based
combat elements throughout the training exercise. During non-MEB
training periods, any newly acquired installation lands would be used
for live-fire, combined arms training and other military training of
smaller units. With regard to Special Use Airspace, this alternative
would establish Restricted Airspace over the Western Area to
accommodate combined arms live-fire from aircraft in support of the
Ground Combat Element and would determine whether the current Special
Use Airspace over the proposed Southern expansion area would need to be
converted from Military Operational Airspace to Restricted Airspace.
Alternative 3 would add the same 22,000 acres of land in the South
as would be added in Alternatives 1 and 2 and would add approximately
228,000 acres to the East of the base. During a MEB training exercise,
two battalions would begin movement from starting positions to the east
of the MCAGCC current range complex and travel together in a westerly
direction before separating for individual movement once aboard the
current MCAGCC. The third battalion would begin movement in a westerly
direction from a starting position in the southern portion of the
current range complex. All three battalions would maneuver toward a
single objective in the northwest portion of the current range complex.
The two battalions that would start in the proposed new areas to the
east would conduct live-fire from ground- and air-based combat elements
once aboard the current MCAGCC range complex, and the third battalion
would be able to conduct live fire from ground- and air-based combat
elements throughout the training exercise. During non-MEB training
periods, any newly acquired installation lands to the east would be
used for live small arms fire and other military training of smaller
units, and any newly acquired installation lands in the south would be
used for live-fire, combined arms training and other military training
of smaller units. In this alternative, it is possible that no
additional Special Use Airspace would need to be established, or that
any current Special Use Airspace would need to be modified.
Alternative 4 would add the same 188,000 acres to the west of the
current installation and approximately 22,000 acres to the south of the
installation as are contained in Alternative 1. During a MEB training
exercise, three battalions would begin movement in an easterly
direction from different starting positions in what is called ``Johnson
Valley'' and assault different objectives in the eastern portion of the
current range complex and in the proposed southern expansion area.
Live-fire training in the western expansion area would be limited to
non-dud producing ordnance, with dud-producing ordnance only targeted
within the current range boundary. Non-MEB training events would be
subject to the same restrictions. With respect to Special Use Airspace,
this alternative would establish Restricted Airspace over the Western
and Southern Areas to accommodate combined arms live-fire from aviation
and surface units.
Alternative 5 would add the same 188,000 acres of land to the west
of the base as in Alternatives 1 and 4. During a MEB training exercise,
three battalions would begin movement in an easterly direction from
separate starting positions in ``Johnson Valley.'' Two battalions would
attack separate objectives in the current range complex, and the third
battalion would attack the Combined Arms Military Operations in Urban
Terrain (CA MOUT) facility in the current range complex. Live-fire
training in the western expansion area would be limited to non-dud
producing ordnance, with dud-producing ordnance only targeted within
the current range boundary. Non-MEB training events would be subject to
the same restrictions. With respect to Special Use Airspace, this
alternative would establish Restricted Airspace over the Western Area
to accommodate combined arms live-fire from aviation and surface units.
The No Action Alternative would seek no additional lands and no
additional or changes to Special Use Airspace associated with MCAGCC's
current range complex. During a MEB exercise, the three battalions of
the ground combat element would commence their operations aboard the
current MCAGCC range complex in the eastern and central areas of the
base, moving towards a single objective in the northwest corner of the
current MCAGCC, undertaking live-fire and combined arms actions
throughout, except as restrained by on-base administrative controls.
The Department of the Navy is initiating the scoping process to
identify community interests and local issues to be addressed in the
EIS. Federal, state and local agencies, Native American Indian Tribes
and interested individuals are encouraged to provide oral and/or
written comments regarding the scope of the EIS to develop reasonable
alternatives and/or to identify specific issues or topics of
environmental

[[Page 64606]]

concern that the commenter believes should be considered.
The EIS will evaluate potential environmental effects associated
with action alternatives and the No Action Alternative. Potential
issues include, but are not limited to: Land use, recreation, energy
development, air quality, airspace/air traffic, biological resources,
cultural resources, mining/minerals, socioeconomics and noise.
A mailing list has been assembled to facilitate preparation of the
EIS. Those on this list will receive notices and documents related to
EIS preparation. This list includes local, state, and federal agencies
with jurisdiction or other interests in the alternatives. In addition,
the mailing list includes adjacent property owners, affected
municipalities, and other interested parties such as conservation and
off-highway vehicle organizations. Anyone wishing to be added to the
mailing list may request to be added by contacting the EIS project
manager at the address provided above.

Dated: October 24, 2008.
T.M. Cruz,
Lieutenant Commander, Judge Advocate Generals Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal
Register Liaison Officer.
[FR Doc. E8-25845 Filed 10-29-08; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3810-FF-P
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Unread 11-03-2008, 08:32 AM   #13
cvd
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I wrote a letter, but am not very optimistic. My local paper has an article on this subject this morning (http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/s...3.34edaa3.html)

Basically it looks like the options are to expand to the west and take Johnson Valley, expand to the east, or do both. They can expand to the east some, but then hit two existing protected wilderness areas (Sheephole Valley & Cadiz Dunes). Given those two areas are already federally protected. It will be a much bigger deal to “undo” that designation than to take over Johnson Valley that isn’t protected.

I think our best hope is for the expansion to only go to the east, right up to the existing protected areas (which I think is what Option 3 is).
Cliff
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Unread 11-03-2008, 08:45 AM   #14
Kiwi
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Thanks for posting that link. Brad Mitzelfelt is a strong supporter of keeping JV and encouraging the move to the east and challenging the designated wilderness areas.
Don't give up
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Unread 11-03-2008, 11:23 AM   #15
Joe Dillard
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Personalized letter sent.
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