We are having a stellar winter season here in Big Bear. The lake is filling up and businesses are seeing good numbers. Folks are experiencing the very best Big Bear has to offer in the winter wonderland that is our National Forest. These are good times, for sure.

They do not come without a price, though. Storms have damaged homes, wiped out roads and caused all sorts of delays. Nobody needs to be reminded of the pieces and piles of snow play trash everywhere. The same type of damage we see around town have no doubt occurred in our forest as well.

Our non-motorized hiking, biking and equestrian trails around the Valley are not immune to a proper thrashing from Mother Nature or the uninformed. No doubt some trails have turned into creek beds. Guaranteed there are trees that have fallen over trails — or are about to. Some trail users may get lost because of signs that were damaged from high winds.

Who knows if the trails will be safe for people to use when spring rolls around? Hard saying not knowing. That is where you come in.

The Big Bear Valley Trails Program of the Southern California Mountains Foundation has worked with global GIS mapping company ESRI (Redlands) to easily crowd source trail condition reports from people just like you.

This is how it works — you are on a trail and notice a part of it that needs attention, grab your smartphone, snap a picture, visit this website: arcg.is/2zIDgyn and upload your photo there. The program then takes the location data embedded into smartphone photos and puts it onto a map. With that photo documentation, we plan and execute trail work events more efficiently and effectively. This is especially helpful after a proper winter in the San Bernardino mountains.

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Bare in mind your report does not need to be submitted in real time. You can snap a photo, continue on with your recreation and then submit it later at your convenience. That means you can be an invaluable help to our trail system by uploading a picture you took of a needy trail section while in your jammies at night.

The future is here and spring is right behind.

Reposted from the Big Bear Grizzly Weekender February 27, 2019