Some time ago the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation submitted a New Trails Plan that proposed around 100 miles of new trails be introduced to the Forest Service trail system in the Valley. This would address the trail deficit in the Valley, meaning the current system isn’t meeting the needs of the people — and consequently neither was it meeting the forest’s needs.

The professional grade plan would update the system by connecting neighborhoods and communities by (existing or not-yet-existing) mountain singletrack, disperse use, reduce conflict, and most importantly, protect mother nature through socially and environmentally sustainable plans and trails.

The plan was presented to the public for open comment during two open houses in the spring of 2017. The overwhelming majority of the feedback received from those events was positive.

Though no official word was given from the Forest Service concerning the matter, The Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, now officially known as the Big Bear Trails Program of the Southern California Mountains Foundation, continues to work with the Forest Service to see the plan through.

This is inherently a slow process. And I’m writing this on day 28 of the government shutdown, so for the moment, those within the Forest Service who want to help can’t. We’ll get there … eventually.

For the time being, let me offer a possible new approach to the incredible opportunities we do have. Each season gives a fresh dimension to trails. Winter trails slow you down and make it easier to catch solitude. You don’t have to go far to get it, either. Bright, high desert sky over fresh carpets of snow is a brilliant experience. We get that right out our back door. Jeff Bezos eat your heart out.

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In Big Bear we have the unique ability to choose our winter conditions a la carte, with snow-free trails always within minutes. The good ’ol boys of old school Big Bear mountain biking head to Lucerne for twisty rides in the wash. Bike for Bender’s Pioneertown ride spits you out on the far east end of the San Bernardino National Forest that is nothing short of spectacular. And when was the last time you visited the Santa Ana River Trail, just down Highway 38? It’s a lower-elevation gem.

As we anticipate new trails, let’s enjoy the facets of the trails we have now.

Reposted from the Big Bear Grizzly Weekender January 26, 2019