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 picked up new support Tuesday night when the Twentynine Palms City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the plan. According to the resolution, “such a loss of land for recreation would be a catastrophic loss for a region that relies so heavily on tourism and recreation business.”
The City of Twentynine Palms joins a growing numbers of localities who have voiced their support for the measure. Among those passing resolutions in support of Rep. Cook’s proposal include the following: the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors, the Town of Apple Valley, the City of Hesperia, the Town of Yucca Valley, San Bernardino Associated Governments, and the Homestead Valley Community Council.
Originally introduced earlier this year as a stand-alone bill, the legislation passed the House of Representatives as part of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). The Senate will consider it this fall.
Cook stated, “I’m pleased to have the unanimous support of the City Council of Twentynine Palms. Given the proximity of Twentynine Palms to Johnson Valley, their support is particularly important. I’ve always felt that my proposal mirrors the opinion of people in the high desert, and this is just the latest example of a local community standing up for public access and use of the land. Johnson Valley is one of the few areas left for off-highway vehicle recreation, and we need to ensure not only that it’s protected, but also that people can use the area safely.”
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 The withdrawn area would be designated specifically for recreational uses, including but not limited to off-highway vehicle use, camping, and hiking.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.
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.