Tag: Big Bear Lake

Busy Labor Day Weekend in the Valley

Big Bear, CA, Sept. 4, 2014 – As the unofficial end of the summer season, Labor Day Weekend and all the visitors it brings to the valley is something local businesses in Big Bear look forward to every year. Judging by the never ending line of traffic heading west from Big Bear City towards Big Bear Lake and the checkout lines at the grocery store, there were a lot of people enjoying what our valley has to offer. According to the MWD, many of those visitors were out on the lake. On Saturday afternoon there were 545 boats on the water and on Sunday there were 352. This is double the number of boats out on a typical Saturday or Sunday. There were also 571 boat launches from the two public ramps. These numbers are similar to 2013, however last year Sunday was the busy day. From an informal survey of several restaurants both in Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City, most said it was their busiest weekend of the summer. Also, the private home rental businesses reported over 95%...

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MWD Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Big Bear, CA, August 16, 2014 – In the late 1950s and early 1960s, southern California was in the midst of an extended drought. Due to large demands on water from Big Bear Lake for irrigation down the hill, the lake had been reduced to little more than a large mud puddle. Although the dam was originally constructed to provide irrigation water for the Redlands and San Bernardino areas, the extensive recreational community of Big Bear decided to attempt to gain control of the lake since recreation on the water requires a reasonably stable lake level. In 1964, by an overwhelming vote, the people of Big Bear Lake created the Big Bear Municipal Water District with the express purpose of stabilizing the level of the lake. The new MWD Board of Directors got right to work. A thirteen year legal battle ensued which finally led to an out of court settlement where for 4.7 million dollars , the MWD acquired title to the dam, the lake bottom, and the surface recreation rights of Big Bear Lake. The solution to satisfying irrigation interests downstream as well as maintaining lake levels is that each year the Bear Valley Mutual Water Company determines irrigation needs and estimates the demand on Big Bear Lake to meet those needs. The MWD then has the option of either releasing water from the lake or supplying...

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Fireworks in Big Bear: The Best in SoCal

Big Bear, CA, June 28, 2014 – On Friday July 4th, Big Bear residents and visitors to our valley will be treated to one of the largest and most unique fireworks displays in all of southern California. Shot from a barge in the lake, the fireworks are brilliant in our clear mountain air and we get the added bonus of their reflections on the water. The Big Bear Rotary Club and especially longtime valley resident Skip Suhay, who passed away in May, have been coordinating this display for over 20 years. They’ve seen it grow from a small display shot from the peninsula at the end of Pine Knot to the huge show it is today which will feature over 400 shells shot into the sky from a 100 foot long barge anchored in the middle of the lake. According to family members and fellow Rotarians, the annual fireworks show was Skip’s passion. Every year he looked forward to making the show more memorable and better than the year before. He worked closely with MWD, the various marinas, and the pyrotechnic specialists to make sure it was the best show possible. This year, Skip’s son Andy will be at the helm of the Rotary Club’s Fireworks Committee. The fireworks can be seen from many vantage points in the valley including from the lake itself. In fact, anywhere you can...

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The Legend of Castle Rock

Big Bear Lake, CA, May 3, 2014 – Rising out of the mountains at the southwest end of the lake, standing like a sentinel keeping watch over Big Bear, is Castle Rock. There is a Serrano Indian legend that surrounds Castle Rock from a time long ago when Big Bear was known as Yuhaviat, which means ‘pine place’. The legend tells of a beautiful young girl named Wyhnemah who once lived in Yuhaviat. All the young men of the tribe were constantly competing with each other for her attention, but she only cared for one young brave named Pahwek. He was a hunter and whenever he was gone on hunting trips to get food for the tribe, Wyhnemah would climb to the top of Castle Rock and watch for his return.When she would see him in the distance, she would climb down and run to meet him. On one such trip, Pahwek did not return when he was supposed to. As the days and weeks went by, Wyhnemah came to realize that something was terribly wrong and that he would never be coming home. Not wanting to live her life without her true love, she climbed to the top of Castle Rock one evening and with a prayer on her lips, Wyhnemah stepped off the edge to join Pahwek forever in the happy hunting...

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The Road to Big Bear

Big Bear, CA, April 26, 2014 – The first road into the San Bernardino Mountains, which was really just a trail, was built by the Mormons in 1852 and ascended Waterman Canyon. Big Bear Lake was created in 1885 and the only way up, other than a pack trail up Santa Ana Canyon, was a long arduous trip up Cushenbury Grade. To get to the Grade, visitors first had to travel over Cajon Pass to the desert before climbing the steep grade to Bear Valley. In May of 1888, the Bear Valley Toll Road Company was formed. They cut a road into Santa Ana Canyon and over the mountains  into the Valley, and used a combination of stage coach and mule train for the two day trip to Big Bear. In 1891, Gus Knight and John Metcalf formed the Bear Valley Wagon Road Company and by the following year had completed a road through what is now Running Springs. Stagecoaches began making scheduled runs into the valley three times a week. With this new road, travel time to Big Bear was cut to a day and a half. It was 1908 when the first automobile made the 101 mile trip up. Since gas stations were non-existent, a 20 horsepower steam powered vehicle was chosen to make the trek, and did so with much difficulty. In 1915, Rim of the...

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