The BLM plans public safety measures for 2023 King of the Hammers race

Vehicles take as far as the eye can see with mountains and clouds in the background.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The Bureau of Land Management will implement a temporary closure of public lands from Feb. 2 – Feb. 12, 2023, in the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, San Bernardino County, during the annual 2023 King of the Hammers desert race event. The race is authorized by a BLM Special Recreation Permit and the temporary closure is necessary to facilitate public safety and provide an enhanced recreation experience for event participants and spectators.

The BLM has approved a five-year public land closure for up to 10 days a year through 2027.  Registered race spectators, participants, and race officials are exempt from the closure.  Approximately 81,000 acres of the Johnson Valley OHV Recreation Area will be temporarily closed to public use and approximately 46,000 acres will be available for public use during the event.

“The safety of spectators and participants is our top priority. The public is reminded to recreate responsibly and cooperate with race officials and local law enforcement officers to stay safe and ensure the success of the off-road races,” said BLM California Desert District Manager Michelle Lynch.

The temporary closure complies with the management plan for the area. A minimum of three staging areas within the Johnson Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area will remain open to the public for both weekends of the temporary closure period. Nearby limited use areas will remain available for off-highway vehicle and other recreation uses. Information and a map of the closure area for the 2023 race event will be available for viewing at the BLM’s California Desert District Office and Barstow Field Office. Download a map of the closure.

The BLM encourages the public to recreate responsibly on public lands. Find additional tips for recreating responsibly on public lands.

As stewards, the BLM manages public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, supporting conservation in pursuit of its multiple-use mission. For more information, contact the California Desert District Office at 951-697-5200, or the Barstow Field Office at 760-252-6000.


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

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Bureau of Land Management

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