Baldwin Lake Bike Path

May 25th, 2007

Wednesday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with Phil Hamilton about efforts to make the Big Bear Valley more bike-friendly. He’s heading up the Big Bear Valley Trails Coalition, a group of citizens and organizations who’s goal is to make “Big Bear a community that encourages and welcomes all forms of non-motorized uses for both recreation and transportation.” Phil has assembled an impressive steering committee that includes local and County representatives, as well as the Forest Service and Caltrans. And it appears they are off to a great start, and with gas headed towards a billion dollars a gallon, the timing couldn’t be better.

One project calls for a Type 1 (separate from the road) multi-use pathway around Baldwin Lake. Another project calls for dozens of “Share the Road” bicycle road signs throughout the Valley. And another seeks to complete a Type 1 path between Division and Stanfield Cutoff, picking up from the boardwalk on Baker Pond.

As good as the on and off-road cycling opportunities are in the Big Bear, anyone who has spent any time on a bike in the Valley knows there are some areas that would definitely benefit from more cycling-friendly attention. Making the Valley more cycling-centric is also consistent with responsible stewardship of our wonderful outdoor setting.

So hats off to Phil and the other Committe members. I plan to do my part to support the effort. Oh, and remember the 4 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Ride!

Baldwin Lake near Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake Marathon ?

May 19th, 2007

Big Bear MarathonA couple days ago I attended the City of Big Bear Lake Planing Commission meeting intended to review an application for a Marathon around Big Bear Lake next year in 2008. I went with Pat Follett because we both believed events of this sort are important to the vitality of the Big Bear Valley and wanted to voice our support.

Having promoted and managed hundreds of mountain bike races around the Country for the past 20 years, Pat was able to speak to the Planning Comission with some authority on the subject. He spoke to the challenges of pulling off competitive sporting events in the Valley and noted the impact of declining mountain bike racing in Big Bear ever since Snow Summit stopped hosting those events.

I presented a bit different view and mentioned to the Planning Commission that most people who came to Big Bear needed an excuse to visit, and that competitive outdoor events brought a quality guest appreciative of our unique mountain setting. I said how events like the Big Bear Lake Marathon help fill Big Bear Lake cabins, help keep employees employed, and help collect TOT tax for the City of Big Bear Lake. And I reminded everyone that while I wish events like this magically happened with no effort and no inconvenience, the reality was that if we wanted the benefits of this kind of event, we had to all work together.

I also addressed the issue of the brief early-morning road closures necessary for an event like this. One of my neighbors had complained via letter that if Highway 18 were closed, he wouldn’t be able to get his JC Penney delivery. I mentioned how little traffic there is on the Highway from 4am to 8am, and said that I would much rather choose to briefly close the Highway early in the morning for the benefits of an event like this, than suffer through involuntary closures due to fuel spills, traffic accidents, and acts of nature. Pat reminded me about the C.A.V.E. people – Citizens Against Virtually Everything – and it made me laugh. I figured if this neighbor is worried about deliveries a year and a half from now, he probably has bigger problems than a 4 hour early-morning road closure.

The Planning Commission will revisit the Marathon application next month, but several Commission Members did comment on the very professional organization and preparation of those seeking to put on the Marathon.