Ripple Effect Into Lucerne Valley, Apple Valley
Most Johnson Valley visitors go by way of Bear Valley Road, AKA California State Highway 18. Along here, you'll find gas stations, tire shops, general auto repair, fast food, and groceries. These businesses exist because the traffic draws customers. Off-roaders are a big part of that traffic and a major part of these businesses' customer base. If the flow of Johnson Valley visitors along Highway 18 dries up, it will have dire economic consequences for those businesses. The city of Apple Valley has formally registered itself as a stakeholder in the Johnson Valley debate.
Don Alexander of Backcountry4x4.com also weighed in regarding Big Bear: "If Johnson Valley is closed, especially the rock-crawling areas like the Hammers, where will everyone with buggies go? Big Bear is a likely area, and that would be disastrous, both from a trail-damage perspective, especially since many would go 'off trail,' and from a political perspective, as this outcome would force the Forest Service to close trails as it cannot possibly enforce regulations...this has monumental and disastrous implications to our sport and our industry."
Ripple Effect into Barstow, Increased Danger
Closing an off-road area doesn't diminish off-roaders' enthusiasm any more than closing one golf course will make golfers take up knitting. Closing one off-road area means that other off-road areas will become more crowded. The Stoddard Valley OHV area near Barstow will become more crowded and dangerous if Johnson Valley is closed. Most of us have heard a story or two about a nasty off-road accident at Barstow. If Johnson Valley is closed we're likely to hear (and possibly experience) more horror stories.
What Can We Do?
It's simple: speak up! You can comment via e-mail or snail mail. If you don't live in Southern California, don't worry about it. Off-roaders from all corners of the country come to Johnson Valley.
You should comment even if you haven't yet been to Johnson Valley. After all, if Johnson Valley is closed you'll have lost the opportunity to experience some of the best terrain and trails around.
Be sure to make your comments before the end of the comment period. Don't wait!
Besides making comments to the Marines, you can also contact your local congressional representative and your state's U.S. senators. Let them know what Johnson Valley means to you personally, how often you visit, what you do when you visit, how many people go with you, how much money you spend (and where you spend it) on your visit.Remember, the Marines' final request must be approved by Congress before becoming law.
Partnership for Johnson Valley
We recommend contacting the Partnership for Johnson Valley to find out what's going on and how to make public comments. Check out its website at PFJV.org to find out more.