Of course, the map in the press release below, that I am forwarding to you, is highly uninformative, but I will try to meld it with one that actually shows some landmarks and roads, so we can better see the borders.
Many questions about shared use remain unanswered. The territory traditionally used by many popular events will be chopped and changed forever, although the King of the Hammers range remains. However, as it has been explained to me, the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Area now has standing as a prescribed OHV area, not just an area where OHV visitors are allowed now, but could be denied later.
Congressman Cook’s proposal was included in the House NDAA, and informed opinion says in the normal course it could have won in the Senate. We understand that the procedure in the Senate was different than in previous years, there was no conference committee to iron out mismatches in language between the House and Senate bills. Focus on Johnson Valley was lost. It got stuck in with other issues like Guantanamo Bay, Iran, sexual harassment and other issues, reviewed by staff in a very brief period of time. Thus there was a good chance that the Marines’ proposal would have won the day.
But as it turned out, our Save Johnson Valley campaign rose to a very high level, and no matter how we feel about sections of the final bill, we did not throw in the towel. We may not feel like celebrating exactly, but we can console ourselves that what we have left looks to be far better protected than ever before. We have seen public access to public lands taken and taken again, and this take is a huge disappointment to many. But it is not the total loss we feared to see.
More comment and information to come later. I would appreciate your sending me your opinions, to be quoted in the JV Journal and elsewhere.
There is a long list of people we must thank, I will round up some contact numbers, though I know there were people I will never meet, or even know their names, that deserve our gratitude. These results are much better than we feared were possible at the outset. In 2008. A long time to be kept in suspense.
Congressman Cook is the first one we should write to. We know he and his staff spent many many hours on this. He came to Johnson Valley and listened to us. His concern for the safety of the residents and the thousands of visitors – the happy campers, racers, rockhounds, and explorers who would venture onto public lands suddenly transformed into a war zone – this was the main issue in all our objections that rose to the surface. And it counted the most with the legislative heavy hitters who lent their support.