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Desert dispute pits Marine Corps and off-road enthusiasts

June 19, 2011 | 10:23 am

The Marine Corps and off-roading enthusiasts are at odds over a desert area adjacent to the base at Twentynine Palms in San Bernardino County.

The Marines say Johnson Valley would be ideal for large-scale training. The off-roaders say it is an irreplaceable venue for racing and other recreational pursuits.

There are five other alternatives for expansion of the sprawling base, but the Marine Corps says Johnson Valley is the best and have offered a compromise: Part of the valley would be open 10 months a year. The off-roaders and other critics of the expansion plan are not interested.

The issue may go next year to the Congress for a decision.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: An off-road vehicle in Johnson Valley adjacent to the Marine base at Twentynine Palms. Credit: John Herrick / CRAWL magazine