Marine Corps Combat Center To Expand Into Johnson & Wonder Valleys

The Department of the Navy has approved the expansion of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center into Johnson Valley and Wonder Valley.
As delineated in the Marine Corps’ record of decision, the expansion footprint will extend the existing Combat Center 146,667 acres to the west and 21,304 acres to the south, entailing the acquisition of 167,971 acres of civilian- and government-owned property, much of which was considered by off-road enthusiasts to be prime dune-buggy and dirt bike terrain.
For its operational purposes, the Marine Corps had preferred a somewhat larger 201,657 acre expansion option that would have extended the combat center 180,353 acres to the west and 21,304 acres to the south. By declining this option, 42,803 acres in the Johnson Valley off highway vehicle area remain available to the public year round.
According to the Department of the Navy, of the 146,667 acres to be occupied by the expansion, 4,912 acres will be converted to what is referred to as a “shared use area” used by the military only two months out of the year and available for public recreation the ten remaining months. This will boost the shared use area of the entire combat center to a total of 43,049 acres.
The six expansion alternatives featured varying and conflicting environmental and operational advantages. The Marine Corps deemed the chosen option, referred to as Alternative 6, to be optimal when considering operational factors and environmental impacts combined.
The next stage of the process will entail Congress considering the application in the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. Upon approval by Congress, the Navy will be consigned to acquire the property, much of which is federal property to be vacated by the Bureau of Land Management. The Navy and Marines will also need to coordinate with the Federal Aviation Administration to establish military exclusivity in the airspace over the property in question.
Further information about the expansion can be gleaned at the following webpages: and

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