By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Rep. Paul Cook’s (R-Yucca Valley) plan to create the Johnson Valley National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Area passed the U.S. House of Representatives today as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Originally introduced earlier this year as a stand-alone bill, the legislation was co-sponsored by Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. The NDAA now moves on to the Senate.
Cook stated, “I’m pleased to see this important legislation pass the House. This balanced approach, which has bipartisan support, puts public safety first while also allowing for recreational use. The Johnson Valley is essential to the off-highway recreational vehicle community.
“The end goal is to ensure that the NDAA still has this Johnson Valley language in it when it reaches the President’s desk later this year. A lot can happen as the NDAA moves through the Senate, so it’s essential for supporters of my proposal to let Senators know how important it is to protect Johnson Valley for recreational use.”
Rep. Cook’s proposal would withdraw the Johnson Valley OHV area for the purposes of recreation and designate it as the Johnson Valley National OHV Recreation Area. The withdrawn area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including but not limited to off-highway vehicle use, camping, and hiking. U.S. Marine Corps activities would be permitted to take place twice annually and could not include any explosives that could be left behind without detonating.
The NDAA passed the House by a vote of 315-107. If passed by the Senate, it will move to the President’s desk for his signature. The NDAA is the comprehensive legislation to authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.
A member of the House Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.