When the snow melts, outdoor enthusiasts will again be able to enjoy the 30 miles of bike routes throughout the Big Bear Valley, though, through the efforts of the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, the hope is to have paths available for non-motorized travel year-round by incorporating routes not just for cycling, but cross-county skiing, hiking, running and horseback riding. In 2009, the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation expanded their reach, became a non-profit 501C3 corporation, and are now pursuing grant funding—which is a considerable effort for the group which, only in 2006, was a handful of volunteers operating as an ad hoc committee of the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District focused on establishing Class 3 bike routes within Big Bear.
This initial focus was accomplished, given support from the City of Big Bear Lake and the County of San Bernardino, and, on Memorial Day weekend 2008, the coalition celebrated the ribbon cutting for 30 miles of bike routes (15 in Big Bear Lake and 17 in the East Valley), the installation of 37 “share the road” signs around the perimeter of Big Bear Lake and beyond, the completion and distribution of Valley-wide bike trails maps, and a community Bike Ride for Ryan, in support of local Olympic marathon runner Ryan Hall. The group has since incorporated equestrian, hiking, running and cross-county skiing enthusiasts into their Foundation Board, as well as representatives from the San Bernardino National Forest and the City, to achieve their mission, which is to create, enhance, preserve and promote non-motorized use of Big Bear Valley trails and roadways for the enjoyment and transportation of residents and visitors. Ongoing efforts of the group include the design and development of a multi-use path around Baldwin Lake, as well as one between Stanfield Cutoff and Division, and the pursuit of funding for a Valley-wide master plan of trails both on the Valley floor and perimeter mountains; they are also working with the City and County as developments are proposed, to incorporate right of way access and funding for the multi-use paths. A long-term goal of the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation is to explore the possibility of providing a trail guide and information service.
To fund these efforts, the foundation will next week host their first fundraiser, billed as “Pizza and Pizzazz”; all-you-can-eat pizza (for $15), as well as salad and soft drinks, will be provided at Maggio’s in the Interlaken Center, and the pizzazz will be provided by local entertainers Mike Cross and Emily Dunn, as well as Brian Adams, Kim Boda, Steve Cassling, Beth Gardner, John Grandi, Elena Peavy, Nancy Walker and Ty Warren. The entire community is invited to the February 9 event, from 5 to 8pm, to enjoy pizza and pizzazz and find out more about the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation. For more information on Pizza and Pizzazz, see our event listing or call Phil Hamilton at 585-3467; for more on the Trails Foundation, visit their website at BigBearValleyTrailsFoundation.org.