• Valley Fire to blaze until fall, drift smoke expected July 21, 2018
    The call rang out over the scanner at 1 p.m. July 20 about a new fire near Forest Falls. Five minutes later, the call was cancelled — false alarm. It turns out somebody mistook smoke from the Valley Fire for…
  • Hope for Bear Valley Park hinges on free land July 21, 2018
    The three-decade old Bear City Park situation resurfaced July 17 at the quarterly Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District advisory committee meeting.
  • Planning Commissioner Craig Smith to retire, depart to Idaho July 20, 2018
    During his 13 years serving on Big Bear Lake’s Planning Commission, Craig Smith has done it all. He made key contributions during the drafting of multiple ordinances, including signs, special events and tree conservation. Outside of planning, Smith spearheaded the…
  • Thunderstorms building over Big Bear July 19, 2018
    A thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of San Bernardino County, including the San Bernardino mountains. Hail, winds up to 60 mph and rain are expected.
  • 911 telephone land lines down July 19, 2018
    An aerial communication line along the Interstate 15 corridor has been knocked out of service, affecting landline communications to the 911 system in Big Bear Valley. It is not known yet how much of the Valley is being affected, but…
  • Search for Stormy reaches happy conclusion July 19, 2018
    Fans of Stormy the juvenile bald eagle can breathe easier. The famous bird from Big Bear Lake who had not been seen for about two weeks, has been found.
  • Big Bear float: Play, Rest, Repeat in 2019 July 18, 2018
    Tim Estes and his team have been working feverishly to get ready for New Year’s Day 2019. It may be months away, but the Fiesta Parade Floats team has a lot of work to do to get the floats designed…
  • Public comment sought for limestone quarry expansion July 18, 2018
    Members of the public can share their thoughts on the proposed expansion of two limestone quarries located 5 miles north of Big Bear Lake. The public can view the draft environmental impact report online or in person, and will have…

Big Bear Lake

Big Bear refers to the region of Big Bear Valley which includes Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City, Fawnskin, Sugarloaf, and other nearby towns. The lakes in the area include Baldwin Lake, Erwin Lake, and Lake Williams. The location of the area lead to popular past times like Big bear camping, skiing, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

The area got its name when discovered by then mayor of little Los Angeles, Benjamin Wilson. During a chase, he rode high into the Santa Ana Canyon of San Bernadino. There, Wilson and his team found a storylike village with abundant plants and wildlife–particularly grizzly bears. For this reason, the area came to be called Big Bear Valley.

While it is true that Big Bear was indeed full of large grizzlies in the past, they were eventually eradicated from the area by hunting. Now, black bears reside in the valley, but the last known grizzly was seen there in 1906.

This valley was originally inhabited by the Serrano Native American tribe. These peoples hunted local wildlife, but they held the grizzly bear in high esteem; so high, in fact that they did not eat the animal’s meat or wear its fur. These people were a peaceful and gentle tribe. There is a museum exhibit in Big Bear that displays some artifacts found in the area. They had settlements called Yucaipa and Cucamonga, which are recalled in towns near the area today.