Cook's Alabama Hills legislation passes in the House

Staff Writer

Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today announced that his bill HR 857, the California Off-Road Recreation and Conservation Act passed unanimously in the House of Representatives this afternoon.
The bill will establish or expand six Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Areas in the California desert. In total, these six OHV areas cover roughly 300,000 acres. These are Johnson Valley, Spangler Hills, El Mirage, Rasor, Dumont Dunes, and Stoddard Valley. This bill creates additional protections for OHV users and ensures that these areas cannot be closed administratively. Creating the nation’s first system of Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation areas will ensure that OHV activity is conducted in appropriate locations, protecting other parts of the desert.
The California Desert Protection Act of 1994 left the Mojave Desert with hundreds of thousands of acres of Wilderness Study Areas. In the decades since then, these areas have been reviewed extensively for their suitability as wilderness. This bill will designate some of these areas as wilderness, primarily within these wilderness study areas and Death Valley National Park, while releasing other lands from wilderness study that were found to be unsuitable for a wilderness designation.
For more on this story, see today's (June 28) edition of The Inyo Register.

Pictured: Some of the key local players who are key behind the Alabama Hills legislation include, from left, Chris Langley, one of the original founders of the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group and past president, Kevin Mazzu, AHSG board member and chair of the Designation Study Committee, who has testified on Capitol Hill on behalf of all stakeholders, Jim Jennings, retired BLM employee and longtime AHSG board member, Kathy Bancroft, AHSG president and tribal historic preservation officer for the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Reservation, Doug Thompson, a passionate AHSG founder and board member, Mike Prather, former AHSG board member, and Matt Kingsley, Inyo County Fifth District supervisor, who spearheaded the lobbying efforts in Washington, DC.
File photo