Santa’s Village: First in the Country

Santa's Village

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...]

Hollywood Loves Big Bear

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  Big Bear, CA, February 22, 2014 - In July of 1911, a movie company from back east arrived at the new Pine Knot Lodge in Big Bear and began filming. That began a love affair between Hollywood and Big Bear that still continues. At about the same time, tourism started taking off in the valley, but only in the summer. During the … [Read more...]

1884 – Big Bear Gets a Dam and a Lake

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    Big Bear Lake, CA, February 15, 2014 - Frank Brown and Hiram Barton rode into Big Bear Valley on horseback in May of 1883. They quickly concluded that if they built a dam at the narrow west end of the valley, they would create a lake five and a half miles long that could supply much needed water to thirsty communities down … [Read more...]

Snow or Shine, the Race is on

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Big Bear Lake, CA, February 14, 2014 - One slogan of our annual snowshoe race is, “If you can walk you can snowshoe,” and given our dry winter, this year’s competitors may actually be on foot. Organizers say the 7th Annual Snowshoe the Bear will go on February 22nd at 10:00 a.m., even if turns out to be a trail run. Event producer Karen … [Read more...]

A Fugitive in Our Midst: Christopher Dorner in Retrospect

Big Bear Lake, CA, February 10, 2014 - In February of 2013, many of us began following the news of a disturbed, disgruntled ex-cop as he crisscrossed southern California: A pair of murders in Irvine, an attempted boat theft in San Diego, an officer shot in Corona, and a fatal ambush in Riverside. It was chilling to watch Christopher Dorner’s path … [Read more...]