Southern California Access Issues

Rep. Paul Cook introduces California Minerals, Off Road Recreation and Conservation Act

Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) introduced HR 3668, the California Minerals, Off-Road Recreation, and Conservation Act. This bill presents a balanced approach to protecting, managing, and using our desert and forest areas in San Bernardino and Inyo Counties. This bill would deal with the management of existing federal land and would not result in an increase in federal landownership.

This bill establishes a Mojave Trails Special Management Area (SMA) in an area south of the existing Mojave Preserve and northeast of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center. This designation protects existing mining operations and allows for future mining exploration as long as mining projects never exceed ten percent of the total acreage. It would also prevent the installation of any industrial-scale renewable energy projects. Additionally, this bill would protect from development any lands within the management area donated to the federal government for conservation purposes. Over 1,200 miles of roads and off-road vehicle trails are written into law as well.

This bill establishes five new National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Areas in Spangler Hills, El Mirage, Rasor, Dumont Dunes, and Stoddard Valley, together creating the first system of National Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Areas in the nation. Additionally, it redesignates Johnson Valley as a National Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area and expands it by nearly 20,000 acres. This bill affords additional protections to OHV users and ensures that these areas cannot be closed administratively. In total, this legislation preserves a total of 300,000 acres for OHV recreational use.

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BLM announces intent to prepare environmental review for Ocotillo Wells SVRA

Public meetings March 18 and 21

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to conduct an environmental review for the Ocotillo Wells Recreation Area in Imperial County.

The BLM will prepare an environmental impact statement to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of resource and recreation management at the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) and a proposed amendment to the BLM California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan. The California State Parks, who manage the SVRA through a Memorandum of Understanding, will jointly prepare an environmental impact report for their General Plan update.

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