Tag: San Bernardino National Forest

Middle School STEM Team Earns Best in State Title for Verizon App Challenge

Big Bear, CA, January 13, 2015 – Five students from Mr. Nate Haston’s class at Big Bear Middle school designed a mobile application concept for the third Verizon Innovative App Challenge, and earned the title of Best in State. The Challenge is a national competition in which students design an app concept that addresses a need or problem in their local schools or communities. Madeleine Boone, Luke Hannan, Branden McIlrevy, Sydney Peterson, and McKinley Warren are all part of the STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math program at the Middle School headed by Mr. Haston. They were one of 44 teams of middle and high school students from across the country selected from more than 1,099 app concepts submitted nationwide. By earning the Best in State title, they now move on to the next phase of the judging process and are in the running to win the National Challenge. Their app concept, called “Survive in Big Bear”, will help prevent hikers from becoming lost in the San Bernardino National Forest. The app, which doubles as a survival game, provides tips on surviving in the forest, facts about the San Bernardino National forest, emergency contact information, and a tool for passing time. The contest exposes students to skill sets such as learning to collaborate, negotiate, and problem solving. The winning concept will become an actual working mobile app that...

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Wildlife in the Big Bear Valley

Big Bear, CA, Sept. 6, 2014 – Wild animals are a fairly common sight in the Big Bear Valley and surrounding mountains. Squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, and even coyotes are seen every day. There are other animals that we share our home with that we are rarely lucky enough to see. Big Bear was named after the huge Grizzly Bears that roamed the valley in the 1800s. The Serrano Indians lived in harmony with the mighty Grizzly and thought of these animals as grandfathers. Sadly, by the turn of the century, the miners, loggers, and cattle ranchers who came to the San Bernardino mountains had killed the last of the Grizzlies. However, years later the smaller, less aggressive Black Bear was introduced into the mountains and can be seen quite frequently raiding trash cans and bird feeders. Some of the more secretive animals include the Bobcat and the Mountain Lion or Cougar. Both cats are very shy and will avoid confrontations with humans if at all possible. The Bobcat is the smaller of the two weighing about 20 pounds whereas the Mountain Lion can reach more than 8 feet in length and weigh more than 160 pounds. One of the most commonly seen and heard residents of Big Bear is the Coyote, but within the dog family we also have the Gray Fox. Foxes live in family groups while their...

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Logging in the Mountains

San Bernardino Mountains, CA, July 26, 2014 – Although Big Bear and the surrounding San Bernardino mountain communities are best known for recreation, outdoor locations for Hollywood productions, and the gold rush of the late 1800s, it was logging that was the big industry in the early 1900s. Logging in the San Bernardino Mountains was once done on a very large scale. The largest operation was conducted by the Brookings Lumber Company. They logged 8,000 acres between Fredalba and Hunsaker Flats, which is  present day Running Springs, and extended northward to Heap’s Ranch and Lightningdale which is near Green Valley Lake. They operated continuously between 1899 and 1912 and even built a railroad to bring logs to the mill at Fredalba. Since the railroad operated in the high country and didn’t connect to other rail lines in the lowlands, the locomotives had to be disassembled and hauled by horse drawn wagons up the mountain. About 60% of the finished lumber was hauled by wagon down the steep grades to the Molino box factory in Highland, which made packing crates for the citrus grown in the area. The remaining 40% went to the company’s retail lumber yard in San Bernardino. In 1912, the company dismantled the Fredalba sawmill and moved it to...

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Critters vs. Litter

Big Bear Lake, CA, July 2, 2014 – With year round recreation, the San Bernardino National Forest is one of the busiest in the country. But with more visitors comes extra litter, and the Forest Service is asking for public cooperation in keeping the area garbage-free. Some environmental effects are obvious. Plastics take decades to disintegrate and aluminum cans last in the environment forever. Trash contaminates soil and important water resources. Here’s a more shocking statistic: Nationwide, about 10,000,000 animals die from litter-related causes every year. Birds, mammals, and reptiles can be injured or killed by ingesting or being strangled by plastic bags, and can be poisoned by contaminated water. The Southern California Mountains Foundation coordinates 600 volunteers annually to help with litter abatement on public lands, and it’s still not enough. Collectively, they clean up over five tons of garbage each year from San Bernardino County forests and parks. The volume of trash is growing every day and the costs of cleanup and public education are rising too. Leaving that one can or bag behind might not seem like it has a big impact, but think about how it adds up, and take a moment to recycle or dispose of it...

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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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