Annual Update and Campaign To Attract Good People To Help
The last year has seen a lot of trail action happening up here in Big Bear. We’ve been witness to a strong surge in outdoor related events, for both bikers and trail runners. We’ve cheered as Snow Summit finally built a downhill mountain bike park. Here at the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, we’ve spent a lot of time up on the South Shore Trail System, working closely with the Forest Service to help this incredible network of trails fulfill its true potential. With all of these happenings, here’s a quick update on what’s going on with the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation; now and for the future.
Would you like to join the Trails Foundation, and be part of the decision making process?
The Skyline Trail has taken a huge amount of time and effort from the all volunteer Trails Foundation. Right now this trail stands at 8.5 miles of brand new multi-use singletrack perched on a scenic mountain top ridge. It’s not officially finished, and still needs our volunteer labor to fine tune sections of the trail, but it’s already being used extensively by locals and visitors alike.
Trail signs for the South Shore System are being painstakingly placed, one by one, all across the mountain top. While this sounds like a quick and simple project, the 300 signs have taken a huge amount of work to research, design, pass through Forest Service channels, purchase, and now install. The end result, however, will be a trail system that visitors can freely explore with the assurance of well signed roads and trails available to help them find their way back home. Big thanks to Big Bear Cycling for being a great partner on this project.
The East and West Skyline Trails are well along in the process of being designed and built; these connector trails will provide another 5 miles of solid singletrack to both ends of the Skyline Trail. The recent government shutdown has put a damper on the building start, but we’re hopeful that we can break trail the fall of 2013.
And, while we love mountain biking, we are a multi-use organization that supports all trail users. As such, we’re still pushing the 12 Trails of Big Bear, which has developed into a way to systematically design trail guides for the many adventures available up here in the mountains. The popular areas get a lot of use, but there’s so much more to Big Bear than the Alpine Pedal Path and the South Shore. Getting people to explore a bit, and see new and wonderful things in their own backyard, is important to us here at the Trails Foundation.
We’ve been involved with Trail Closures in Big Bear. Part of our agreement with the Forest Service, that allowed us to build Skyline, involved us helping them close down illegal trails that were harmful to the environment. While we’ve been supportive of this objective in both thought and action, any trails advocacy group feels a bit uneasy when they are forced to reduce trail opportunities. It’s important, however, that this message gets heard; trails need to be well designed and built, with an eye for both long term environmental sustainability and a good user experience. The “trails” that just head straight downhill, creating unsightly and unsafe erosion chutes need to be a thing of the past.
We’ll readily admit that we took on a huge undertaking with the projects in the South Shore System, and we’re still working our way through them. Our many “Trail Work” days have brought out a wealth of wonderful people willing to put in a hard day’s work for the dream of better trails in Big Bear. However, as time goes on, we’ve still got many projects to complete and our troops are starting to feel the effects of long and sustained work. Perhaps the biggest ebb that we’ve seen this last year at the Trails Foundation is the lack of new blood within our volunteer organization. Our founder, Phil Hamilton, is finally retiring from the foundation that he helped start, and to successfully continue we’ve got to recruit the next wave of trail supporters here in Big Bear willing to give spare time to make trails happen.
WE NEED VOLUNTEERS, COMMITTEE MEMBERS, AND BOARD MEMBERS
- Would you like to join the Trails Foundation, and be part of the decision making process?
- Would you like to help lead or support us on a regular basis?
- Do you have great ideas, and the time and patience to follow through on them?
Without new members to lead the charge, our trails won’t get nearly the help they need and deserve. Whether you are a hiker, a runner, an equestrian, a mountain biker, or just a person who appreciates nature, we encourage you to come join us.
Our annual stakeholder meeting is Monday, November 11th, 2013, and we want all people interested in being a part of the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation to attend. Come join us for Happy Hour at the upstairs room in the local restaurant Captain’s Anchorage, next to Walgreens in the Moonridge Triangle. We’ll be there to socialize at 5:30pm, and to start an informal meeting and discussion at 6:00pm.
Bring your ideas, your good intentions, your volunteer time, and help us walk into 2014 a stronger organization, ready to keep supporting Big Bear as we become a true trails based destination. Again, come join us Monday, November 11th, 2013 at Captain’s Anchorage if you are interested in being part of the Trails Foundation.