Right now most of the activity is office based, planning out projects, talking to people, and getting organized. Soon, though, there will be action. Here’s what’s on tap for 2015:
Big Bear Non-Motorized Recreational Trail Network Plan
We’ve had a good amount of trail building happen over the last several years, and while it’s exciting, it’s also been done without any kind of long term plan or vision for the Big Bear area. For good or bad, this is exactly what the new District Ranger wants before any more trails are built or redesigned.
I agree with him 100%; we need a long term plan for a logical and connective trail network in Big Bear. We’ve got a start on the mountain bike heavy South Shore area, but the rest of the area needs trails that leave from logical trailheads and neighborhoods, connect with other trails, and allow for multiple users in a non-motorized environment. This is going to involve a huge amount of work, but it’s also the opportunity we all want; the chance to have a trail system that makes sense for all of us.
First step is research; I’ve been pouring over USFS documents and laws to gleen anything trail related that will let us know how the process works. So far I’m optimistic; there are many laws and regulations, but many of them can work in our favor if we know they exist. I encourage all of you to take some time, couple your advocacy with education, and join me in becoming an informed citizen (because really, this is how we get what we want…more and better trails). There’s information already on our website ready for you!
Stay tuned for updates on how this project progresses; we will need lots of help and feedback along the way.
Partially to aid in the Trail Network planning process, we’ve got the starts of a solid map on our website. The goal is for this to be not only a source of trail routes, but also a visual update on what is happening to the trails in our forest, from maintenance to closures.
When it’s done, it will be fully mobile and allow users to document needs that they see, like a fallen tree blocking a section of trail. We can then use this information to make things happen.The map will also serve as a base as we start to map out existing and potential new ideas for the trail network.
Mapping Project: All Trail Inventory
Starting very soon, we’re going to need help hitting the trails and mapping the forest. We know about all of the legal, system trails and roads. What we need to know are all of the other, not-official trails, roads, horse paths, dirt bike lines, and more.
This information will be used as an opportunity platform for the Trail Network; if there’s already a well-used trail running past a neighborhood, this is something that, logically, should be a legal trail in the system. Don’t worry too much about the USFS using this information to close things down; they need a Forest Order to do this, and without community support it’s likely the routes would just reemerge.
We’ll need your help to hit the trail and map the land; stay tuned for chances to grab your GPS and go.
Update: Sugarlump Trail
We’ve hit a stumbling block on this fantastic potential trail. While there’s a faint trail on the ground and it exists on maps on the USFS website, the forest service now says that this is actually not a trail, nor has it ever been. This is one of the catalysts for doing so much research on laws and regulations; it’s time we had more information at our disposal.
As we work more on the Trail Network, the Sugarlump Trail is a prime connector and we will campaign heavily to see it come to fruition.
Trail Maintenance Project: Siberia Creek
This is going to be our big maintenance project for 2015. If you haven’t been down this trail yet, wait until we have a maintenance day, and then come see the amazing beauty for yourself. We’re going to have to rebuild part of the trail, clear out the other part, but the reward is a big fish filled stream at the bottom and a connector to Snow Valley.
Trail Maintenance Project: Castle Rock
The new District Ranger hiked Castle Rock trail last fall, and immediately saw that it needed attention. This heavily used route has seen too many people and too little maintenance; as a result there are multiple unmarked paths that make it easy to get lost and contribute to watershed erosion. Last I hear the Mountains Foundation was turning in a grant to get some funds to use on this trail restoration project, with the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation a volunteer partner.
“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help”.- Abraham Lincoln
Board of Directors: We Need You
Right now the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation is still an all volunteer group. The Board of Directors meets once a month, and we could use YOU if you’ve got some spare time to help shape the direction of trails in Big Bear.
Please get in touch with us if you’d like to commit to one year of being on the Board of Directors of the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation.
We’re on facebook, and while I’m not very good at using my personal account, this is a great tool to communicate with the public about trails. Please follow our page, as this is our primary method of letting you know, right now, what’s going on in the trails in Big Bear.
Our website has all of the more static, involved and substantial information that Facebook can only hint at. Head over there to see details on Laws, our developing Map, information on the Trail Network, Trail Guides, and more. Here it is: www.trailsfoundation.org
Please let me know. This whole volunteer gig drives my wife crazy, but for now we’re headed in a good direction and I am genuinely excited about the prospects that the trails in Big Bear have to offer. You can grab me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the trails!
Chair for 2015, Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation.