Finally. A bit of snow. While that’s welcome precipitation for the local Big Bear economy, it’s also a welcome relief for the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation. Snow means a brief respite from the large amounts of work that have been taking place up on Skyline and the South Shore Trail System. This winter season will give us a chance to hunker down for a bit and figure out not only where we’re at, but where we’re going next. Here’s what’s we have right now:

December 4th: IMBA Trails Report

Shane Wilson over at IMBA Trail Solutions forwarded us his final asssessment of the South Shore Trail System. The report thoroughly reviews all of the major trails along forest road 2N10, from Snow Summit to Mill Creek and a bit beyond. Included were Skyline, Wet Dream, Plantation, Secret Canyon, Cabin 89, Dickie’s, Pirates, Mad Dog, Fall Line, and Fern (including Plumber’s). Included in this assessment are descriptions, recommended trail ratings (green blue black), sustainability assessments (does this trail cause undue soil damage and erosion?), suggested reroutes (how to make the trail more sustainable), and maintenance items (specific GPS data with lists of things to do).

IMBA’s bottom line is that much of our trail system is unsustainable and causes large amounts of erosion. Their thorough documentation of the problems, as well as the wonderful suggestions of trail reroute solutions, will serve as expert guidance as we work with the Forest Service on the South Shore Trail System.

December 9th: Skyline Work Day

More than 75 people showed up for this trail work session. We worked on tree and erosion armoring, packing and smoothing berms, and slimming the trail down to 24″. A reminder for everyone is that even though we’ve hired a trail builder for Skyline, they are just doing the Rough Cut. This means we’ve got to come through and do the Final Work. If we hired them to do the entire thing, start to finish, we would be out of money by now.

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SHOWED UP!!! As this project progresses we’re going to find a way to both thank and publicize those who have given their time to help build these trails. You will be able to ride with pride.

December 14th: BBVTF Planning Meeting

Siri, Phil and Driz met at Big Bear Lake City Hall to review the IMBA Assessment and figure out our next steps. Here’s what we’re thinking, in order of priority:

  1. Skyline: get this thing finished. Bellfree will be back come first available moment in the spring when snow melts. By then we are going to have to review the first 3.3 miles of trail we designed and built and then use this knowledge to finish designing the next 4 miles. Bellfree will Rough Cut the last 4 miles of Skyline, and then we will organize volunteer days to finish the trail. Timeline: early summer 2013 completion.
  2. South Shore Loop: while Skyline is being finished, our next goal will be to design a mountain bike loop that starts in town, goes up and along Skyline, and then ends back in town. The loop will make use of both existing trails and will introduce reroutes and links in order to make this a mostly singletrack experience. The Fall Classic, an old standard of a mountain bike ride (and race course) made this loop possible mostly on dirt roads, forcing bikes to compete with the heavy traffic on Forest Road 2N10. The South Shore Loop will seek to emulate the length and general direction of the Fall Classic, but do it in Singletrack Style. This will allow us to offer views of Skyline, the wilderness feeling of the South Shore, and the comforts of Town in one all day adventure package. This will also give the Snow Summit Sky Chair riders two complete ways to come down from the chair lift. Timeline: early summer 2014 completion.
  3. Spider’s Web: once the main attraction (Skyline) and the connection (South Shore Loop) have been established, we’ll get to work on filling in all of the inner spider webs. Downhill trails, cross country trails, family trails…all designed and built to be sustainable, fun, and accessible to hikers, equestrians, and the area’s primary user…mountain bikers. Timeline: early summer 2016 completion.

If the timeline seems slow, or you would like to speed things up, you can help by a) volunteering your time and b) talking to companies and sponsors and getting them to give us more money. With more labor and more money we can get everything done faster. Until then, we’re just a well meaning volunteer organization.

Please let us know if you have questions, comments, thoughts, suggestions, or just want to help. We need you out here with us!