About Community ORV Watch

Who is Community ORV Watch?

Community ORV Watch (COW) was formed in early 2004 as a response to increasing illegal off-road vehicle use in the Morongo Basin in the Southern California desert. The time was ripe for residents and property-owners to start turning the tide on the destruction of public and private lands and a presumed “right to ride” that is trampling over the real rights—and property!—of desert residents. Since then, we’ve helped ignite the fuse that has brought the issue front and center in the desert and redrawn the lines of the debate. Our members are residents, property owners, and supporters in the Morongo Basin—and you!

What has COW accomplished so far?

We’ve worked steadily with law enforcement to improve their response to ORV abuse, including helping to develop an informational brochure for riders and residents; working to clarify and, when necessary, change routes, law, and policy; and supporting the Sheriff’s Office in obtaining a State OHV Commission Grant for enforcement in Yucca Valley. We’ve developed and made available “No ORVs Allowed/No Trespassing” signs and will soon erect a large-format “ORV Enforcement Area” sign on Highway 62.

We’ve brought the ORV abuse issue into the public debate by working with the local press and by networking with other desert areas that are experiencing the same problem.

With a number of other groups we’ve helped form the Alliance for Responsible Recreation, and together we presented the very successful and empowering “Desert Communities Under Seige” Conference in Joshua Tree in February 2005. We’re building the capacity of local groups throughout the Morongo Basin and beyond to organize in their areas to defend their lands through neighborhood watch and respond programs.

What do we want?


We are local residents and property owners who are responding to the crisis of unlawful Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) use in the Morongo Basin.

ORV lawlessness is causing widespread and frequently permanent damage to private property and our public lands. It is menacing our communities, endangering the health and safety of rider and non-rider alike, degrading our property values, and increasing resident and community costs. This vandalism is in violation of the law, and our public agencies have been ineffective in addressing this problem by failing to uphold existing law.

We intend to stop it! How?

Community organizing and neighborhood vigilance.
Demanding effective law enforcement.
Holding our elected officials accountable.
Public education about rights and responsibilities.
Holding riders and parents liable for the damage they do, through enforcement of the law and civil action.
Pursuing every legal means available to us.