The Evolution of a Forest

San Bernardino Mountains, CA, July 5, 2014 - Long before recorded history, this area was home to Native Americans--in fact, 616 prehistoric archaeological sites remain--and then to Mexicans and Europeans in the early 1800s. Mexico ceded California to the United States in 1848, just a few years before the discovery of gold in the San Bernardino … [Read more...]

Critters vs. Litter

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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 … [Read more...]

Mistletoe: Parasite & Provider

San Bernardino Mountains, CA, June 7, 2014 - According to an old Scandinavian Christmas custom, a couple who meets under hanging mistletoe is obliged to kiss. But mistletoe's function in the forest is actually less romantic: as a parasite, it attaches to the branches of a host tree or shrub, and absorbs water and nutrients from the host … [Read more...]

Fire Danger, More Typical of Late Summer

Big Bear, CA, June 6, 2014 - Since November 1, 2013, many areas in California have received less than half their normal precipitation, resulting in very dry brush. As of Memorial Day weekend, there have been more than 1,700 wildfires in California since the start of the year, which have burned more than 15,000 acres. Compared to the five year … [Read more...]

Santa’s Village: First in the Country

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San Bernardino Mountains, CA, May 17, 2014 - When Santa's Village opened it's doors in 1955 in Skyforest, it was the first franchised theme park in the country, beating Disneyland's opening by more than a month. It was the first of three Santa's Villages built by developer Glenn Holland. In it's heyday, it was one of Southern California's biggest … [Read more...]

The Legend of Castle Rock

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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 … [Read more...]

The Road to Big Bear

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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 … [Read more...]

Pebble Plain Habitat… Only in Big Bear

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Big Bear Valley, CA, April 12, 2014 - When the glaciers receded during the Pleistocene Age, they created unique open areas covered with miniature rare plants found only in Big Bear. These areas are known as pebble plains and have a soil composition of quartzite pebbles, deposited over eons, which prevent conifers from taking seed, thus preserving … [Read more...]

There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!

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  Big Bear, CA, March 15, 2014 - In 1848, gold was discovered in northern California which brought thousands of people to the state from all over the world. One of these people was Bill Holcomb who tried his luck up north, but quickly decided to head to southern California. He heard rumors of gold in Big Bear Valley, but wasn't sure … [Read more...]

Bald Eagles Return to Big Bear Year After Year

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Big Bear Lake, CA, March 8, 2014 - Migrating bald eagles love to winter in the San Bernardino Mountains with most of them choosing Big Bear Lake as their winter home. They're usually found near water because their diet is primarily made up of fish and ducks. Sometimes during particularly cold nights, Coots, a breed of bird on our lake, will get … [Read more...]