Big Bear, Ca, July 18th, 2011, 3:00pm –
An uproar came from local mountain bikers last week when portions of a heavily used single-track trail, known as Pirates of the Caribbean, was turned into a fire road. According to Paul Bennett with the Forest Service last year an environmental assessment was conducted on a 30 acre parcel of forest service land west of Snow Summit, and it was decided that this area of land that includes the Pirates trail needed to be part of this years South Big Bear Fuels Reduction Project. The trail has been turned into a fire road for the time being so that the forest service can get their equipment into and out of the project area. Bennett told KBHR that once the project is completed at the end of this summer the trail area will be cleaned up and returned to the mountain biking and hiking community. However for the project timeline the area is closed off to bikers and hikers for their safety. Forest Service workers will be using chain saws and other loud machinery, and having people come through the area could be very unsafe. Bennett told KBHR that mountain bikers are quiet, and if people are using loud equipment to cut a tree, they will not hear cyclists or hikers. The public is urged to stay away from this area while work is being conducted. Bennett also told KBHR that a number of wood cutting permits would be available for this area, for people to collect firewood for the winter.