I've been working with the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation and the United States Forest Service (USFS-San Bernardino National Forest, Mountain Top Ranger District) for more than a year to encourage trail development at Big Bear Lake, California. Early 2012 saw many meetings and presentations discussing mountain bike trail access, trail sustainability and the community health and economic benefits that mountain bike trail networks can offer.
In summer 2012, IMBA's Trail Solutions team was retained to design the Skyline Trail within a fuel-break corridor in the South Shore area. The fuel break runs east-west, to the south of Snow Summit Resort. If you know this area, then you can appreciate how fantastic the location and views are here. If you haven't visited yet, I promise that you're in for a treat when you ride this new singletrack in what I think is a soon-to-be world-class mountain bike destination.
The Skyline Trail design was completed in late summer 2012. Eventually, it will be an 8.5-mile linear trail within the fuel break, with recommendations for other adjacent connector trails. Construction started with volunteers in fall 2012, and continued into early winter, with the assistance of Bellfree Contractors. To date, 3.5 miles of the Skyline Trail have been completed, with the remaining 5 miles currently under construction.
The USFS has also recently allocated $272,000 over three years to the development of the multi-ability trail system in the South Shore area, and the Southern California Mountains Foundation in partnership with the USFS, City of Big Bear Lake and the Bear Valley Trails Foundation, has applied for funding to support trail development and improvements in the area through the State of California Recreational Trails Program Grant in the amount of $272,000.
(Sadly, California Governor Jerry Brown has indicated that he may opt out of Recreational Trails Program funding. Learn more about the RTP and IMBA's campaign to protect it.)
Adjacent to the Skyline Trail at Snow Summit Resort, Gravity Logic has concurrently been designing trails to develop what could become southern California’s premiere lift-served bike park. They have laid out three trails, with construction currently underway. Snow Summit expects to spin the chairs in late May 2013, when riders can access the advanced trail that parallels Miracle Mile ski run, and as summer progresses even more trails will open, thanks to the Snow Summit Trail Crew, with oversight from Gravity Logic. If you’d like to get a sample of these new trails at Big Bear Lake, then come along to the opening event for the Skyline Trail on August 17. Stay tuned to trailsfoundation.org, or IMBA Southwest on Facebook, for details of that event. We hope to see you there!
Watch this great video about the origins of the Skyline trail.