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Big Bear, CA, has long been known for its downhill mountain bike racing heritage, including playing host to many World Championship events over the years. There has also been a growing network of both user-built and official singletrack trails in this district of San Bernardino National Forest, catering to a full range of mountain bike abilities. The trails around Big Bear Lake offer spectacular views of the lake itself and of the surrounding San Bernardino Mountains, the Santa Ana River Valley and San Gorgonio Peak, the highest in Southern California at 11,503 feet.
Over the past few years, the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation (BBVTF) has grown into a well known and well respected group of multi-use, non-motorized trail advocates, with the goal of developing a vibrant trail network in the area available to trail users of all ages and abilities, local residents and visitors from afar. BBVTF wishes to see the area develop into a world class mountain biking destination which, if you know the area, is a very realistic goal!
The focus for the coming weeks, months and years is the Skyline Trail project, a singleltrack system to be located on the ridge just to the south of the resorts looking down into Santa Ana Valley. The area has already been cleared of low brush, which was a fire hazard, with the tall pines left standing. That work has done nothing but enhance the already epic vistas in the area. The plan is to develop a 15- to 20-mile trail network within the fire-break, intended to be ridden in its entirety or as a series of shorter loops, offering a riding experience for a range of abilities.
Recently, the BBVTF held a showing of the documentary Pedal Driven to a packed room at Northwoods Resort and presented their work to the audience. BBVTF committed $40,000 in cash and in-kind volunteer time to the project. To match this, the US Forest Service committed $80,000 to the project.
District Ranger Scott Tangenberg said, "Our partnership with the trails foundation is the example of how land stewardship is going to happen in the future. It's the peoples forest, they are here to take care of it, and I want to facilitate that and encourage their help."
IMBA Southwest Region Director Patrick Kell said, "The Skyline Trail project stands to become a premiere mountain bike trail network in southern California, and indeed within the western states. The trails, the views, the landscape and the people behind this project will come together to produce a world-class product."
We hope to have a staffer from the world-renowned IMBA Trails Solutions program out there in the coming weeks to complete the design portions of the project, with initial trail construction likely commencing later this summer, continuing through the fall, and picking up again in spring 2013.
Stay tuned for more information on this, our newest purpose-built mountain bike trail network!