TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (AP) -- A plan to expand a Mojave Desert Marine base would engulf a beloved off-road recreation area.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise said the Navy issued an environmental impact statement last week that recommends adding some 146,000 acres of Johnson Valley to the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.
That's about two-thirds of the valley, which currently is the largest off-road vehicle recreation area in the nation.
The Marine Corps said it needs to expand to permit live-fire maneuvers to train larger forces.
Off-road enthusiasts said it would reduce access to an area that draws about 200,000 visitors a year and hosts the popular King of the Hammers race.
The California Off-Road Vehicle Association plans to protest the proposal. Congress will make the ultimate decision.