San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Andrews, who showed up to make a report, said, "We get calls for service for motorcycles and ATVs out here all the time. The people I see are either plain dumb or they don't know the law."
"As long as people stay on existing trails, then it's OK," said Mickey Quillman, BLM chief of resources. "It's just the fact that they drove off road into the dunes where there are fringe-toed lizards and animal burrows. It's a limited-use area. You can drive cars and motorcycles on the roads, but you can't take vehicles into the desert -- and people ignore it pretty regularly."
Johnson Valley -- with more than 180,000 acres the country's biggest sanctioned off-roading area -- is 40 minutes away, he pointed out.
Gary Daigneault, news director and owner of KCDZ-FM (107.7) in Twentynine Palms, has closely monitored the battle between the two camps. He sees blame on both sides.
"You have the 'jerk factor' of off-road vehicle owners who have hurt their own sport," he said.
"But I also think Klasky's description of what happened at the Poste Homestead was blown way out of proportion."
Klasky, a professor of ethnic studies at San Francisco State University who spends four months a year in Wonder Valley, is public enemy No. 1 to riders here.
In 2006, his group helped push through a county ordinance aimed at off-roaders that tightened regulations on noise, dirt and trespassing and required groups of 10 or more to purchase a $155 staging permits before assembling on any property, including their own.
Klasky said he was once punched by a man on a quad runner when he tried to photograph him on his property. He said he and others who dare to stand up to off-roaders are routinely threatened.
"I have been the subject of anti-Semitic hate speech and racist remarks. Last year my property was vandalized, but I will continue to organize and speak out," he said.
His biggest critic is Dan O'Brien, a hot dog vendor who runs Mustard's Last Stand in Twentynine Palms and also operates the Cactus Thorns blog, home to his sharpest barbs.
Sometimes he calls Klasky a meddling outsider and environmental extremist. He's also used epithets and referred to him as a tinfoil hat-wearing ding-a-ling.
"These guys came to an area that is rough-and-tumble and they brought their ideas of a desert utopia with them," he said.
"But people here are saying we have a desert lifestyle that has worked for over a hundred years. It's like moving next to an airport and complaining about the jet noise."
O'Brien, 58, denies his highly charged rhetoric intimidates people.
"I walk the line. I tippy-toe on that line but I would never instigate violence," he said. He sees off-roaders as an embattled minority.
"We feel we have lost the desert and now we are being put on these little reservations," he said. "We are starting to feel like Indians."
The battle is far from over.
The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors may remove the controversial staging permit from the off-road ordinance this month.
Klasky said he figures he can get at least 100 people to the board meeting.
Pessa, of Friends of Giant Rock, said he can beat that.
"I am going to flood that meeting with off-roaders," he vowed.