A dozen staffers, half a dozen motorhomes, a satellite tower, eight light towers, three big tents, two miles of perimeter fence, a campfire. Hammertown is starting to take shape. The Means Dry Lake bed is the home of the largest Ultra4 Rock Race of the year, it’s located in Johnson Valley, California. We are two hours east of LA, just Northeast of Twenty-nine Palms and Southeast of Barstow. The area is all desert and mountains, it is desolate and cold and the wind blows. It’s the typical weather that flows from any high mountain desert area, just wait a few minutes and it will change. The weather can be clear and blue, then change instantly to overcast and blowing.
Johnson Valley OHV is in a siege at the moment, the Marine Corps is working hard to expand their base at Twenty-nine Palms. There is a movement afoot to expand west, we as off-roaders, want them to go east instead. There is ground on both sides of the base, enough to provide the Marines with what they need regardless of which way they go. Johnson Valley is an OHV designated area by the state of California, it is managed by BLM. Thousands of people use the OHV area, many of them on a weekly basis. For the people in our community – the off-road community, this is a fight worth fighting. We have a saying about public lands…they should stay open to the public.
There are a number of ways that everyone can participate in this fight, organizations that are set up to fight for Johnson Valley, Save the Hammers.org is one; there is also a petition to get the attention of the White House, there is a two-step process to sign the petition, but it is worth the few minutes it takes. No guarantees that any action will be taken, but there is always hope. Let’s take a minute and participate in the process, everyone counts.