The Falls Picnic Area, Big Falls Trailhead and Vivian Creek Trailhead were re-opened by the San Bernardino National Forest this past weekend, following a closure on July 7 that was prompted by a bear that had been aggressive in the day use area of the facility near Forest Falls. Since the closure went into affect, the bear has not been sighted in the area, likely because the easy source of human food and trash was eliminated. Prior to re-opening the Falls Picnic Area, the Forest Service met with the California Department of Fish and Game, and the following have since been implemented: additional Forest Service presence on-site to police the area and educate visitors, posting of additional signage both at the recreation area and the nearby community, and the installation of two new bear-proof dumpsters. Deputy District Ranger Jake Rodriquez says, “I believe increased public awareness is the key to reducing the conflicts between visitors and local wildlife. Visitors shouldn’t leave food unattended—that’s just an invitation for the bear. They [visitors] need to put trash into dumpsters promptly after picnicking.” Other Forest Service tips include the following: keep a close watch on children; while hiking, make noise to avoid a surprise encounter with a bear; store food and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in your vehicle’s trunk; put away picnic leftovers, store garbage and clean BBQ grills; and never approach a bear or pick up a bear cub. If you do encounter a bear, Forest Service officials say do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to appear as large as possible. If attacked, they say, fight back.
Lighthouse Project to Be Honored With California’s Champion of the Community Award at Today’s Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District Meeting