PREFERRED MARINE BASE EXPANSION PLAN TO RESTRICT JOHNSON VALLEY

PREFERRED MARINE BASE EXPANSION PLAN TO RESTRICT JOHNSON VALLEY

The final environmental documents for the proposed expansion of the Twentynine Palms Marine Base have been released. While 6 different plans are shown, the one identified as preferred by the Marine Corps would severely restrict the use of the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Recreation area. The actual environmental documents can be found by clicking here. Reporter Dan Stork has more…
The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center evaluates the impacts of six alternative plans for that expansion. The alternatives involve different combinations of expansion to the south of the current base (near Twentynine Palms), to the west (in the Johnson Valley area), and to the east (in the Bristol Lake Area). The preferred alternative would use the 21,000 acre southern area, and nearly 147,000 acres in the west. Most of the western area would be reserved for exclusive Marine Corps use, with about 38,000 acres designated as a “Restricted Public Access Area” (RPAA). The RPAA would be available for public use approximately 10 months each year. The Homestead Valley Community Council, representing Johnson Valley and three other communities along the Route 247 corridor, have objected strongly to all the alternatives that take the expansion into Johnson Valley. In this, they have been supported by the Off-Highway Vehicle groups, San Bernardino County supervisors Brad Mitzelfelt and Neil Derry, and business groups. Those objections have been acknowledged in appendices to the Environmental Impact Statement, but did not result in alteration of the shape of the alternatives.

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