Those in the Shay Meadows neighborhood and East Valley areas are likely familiar with the burros in the Big Bear Valley and, in fact, the San Bernardino National Forest says that, over the past year, a herd of burros has moved from forest lands east of Baldwin Lake and into residential areas including Erwin Lake and Sugarloaf. The influx of burros entering residential areas has resulted in damage to landscaping and the burros themselves, as several have been injured or killed along Highway 38 in the last year. To mitigate these issues, the San Bernardino National Forest has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management to conduct a roundup of burros in the Big Bear Valley. Wild burros gathered during the project will be moved into an adoption program run by the BLM in Ridgecrest; the BLM program offers the wild burros for adoption to those individuals and groups willing and able to provide humane, long-term care. The Forest Service rounded up 90 burros in our area in 1997 as, at that time, burros had become extraordinarily tame because of human food handouts and eating trash and pet food. To protect the burros, the Forest Service advises Valley residents and visitors to secure trash cans and do not leave food or water for burros. If they approach, it is recommended that you gently chase them away. Burro sightings can also be reported to the Forest Service, by calling Biologist Robin Eliason at 382-2832. It is estimated that Big Bear’s burro population is likely the result of the annual Old Miners’ Days burro race events, which ran through the mid-90s; following the days’ long race, burros would be released around Baldwin Lake and, over time, a herd of burros built up in that area.
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