Big Bear Lake, CA — After 50 years in Moonridge, the Moonridge Animal Park is slated for a new location—this one on the northern, rather than southern, end of Big Bear Mountain Resorts’ golf course. Pending the authorization of purchase, agendized for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors’ approval tomorrow, the zoo may finally have a permanent home on a 10.46 acre parcel on the corner of Moonridge Road and Clubview Drive. At present, the zoo, which is overseen by the Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, is on a 2.5 acre site; the original lease on the land, at $1 per year, extended for 50 years and, as of this February, the renewed three-year lease contract amounts to $5,650 per month, with an annual rate increase of 4%. Bill Treadwell, Vice President for the Friends of the Moonridge Zoo, has been working on the zoo relocation project for six years, prior to which a 2001 Memorandum of Understanding had been established with the U.S. Forest Service, to potentially move the zoo to Forest Service land adjacent to the Big Bear Discovery Center; he tells KBHR he is excited about the prospect of staying in Moonridge, within the City of Big Bear Lake. “One of the greatest things,” Treadwell says, “is that we don’t have to change our name, after all the branding we have done for all these years—so, the Moonridge Animal Park and Friends of the Moonridge Zoo stay intact, so that’s a big plus. We can also be the southern anchor for the Moonridge corridor.” The Friends of the Moonridge Zoo feel confident that the sale, as appraised at just over $2 million, will be approved during tomorrow’s 10am County Supervisors meeting. Adds Treadwell, “Supervisor Derry is very supportive of it, and wants to see it happen.” Once this action is approved, the current zoo relocation plans will be adapted to suit the new location. The purchase of Moonridge property from the Robert Gumbiner Foundation for the Moonridge zoo will be paid with roughly $1.5 million in Proposition 40 state park funds, with the remaining balance of $559,000 to be covered by the zoo’s CIP budget. The Moonridge Animal Park is home to 150 birds and animals, representing 85 local species, and is the only zoological facility in the U.S. located in an alpine environment and dedicated to the preservation of native species.
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