The lake in Big Bear Lake is eight miles long and approximately one mile across
at its widest point. It has about 23 miles of shoreline and is located at an elevation
of 6,743.20 feet. The present dam, built in 1912, replaced the original dam, which
was built in 1884. The new dam impounds more than 73,000 acre-feet of water with
a height of 72 feet, 4 inches. The beautiful, new concrete arched bridge leading into Big Bear Lake opened on Friday, June 24 2011. At a cost of $39 million, the bridge is destined to be an award winning bridge and the most impressive structure in California.
The Lake is not a source of water for the local water supply. The only water taken
locally is by the two ski resorts for making artificial snow. They may each purchase
up to 500-acre ft. per ski season. The Municipal Water District manages the lake.
Private homes, several marinas, public parks and some hotels and lodges surround
the south side of the lake.
Located near the Dam on Government lease land is a historic area dotted with picturesque
older cabins, built among the boulders and tall pines. In the same area you will
see Treasure Island, sometimes called China Island,( the correct name is Garstin
Island). Treasure Island is privately owned and the home is built on top of the
giant boulders is a series of wonderful Oriental style buildings that were built
in 1911 by Maude Garstin.
The nearby boulders are a favorite with tourists and local youngsters for jumping
and diving. The Lake is a favorite with boating enthusiasts, and during the summer
season, tourists and locals take advantage of the picturesque surroundings to enjoy
fishing, wakeboarding, water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, sailing, canoeing,
kayaking and swimming. In the winter months, the Lake sometimes freezes over, and
although it is beautiful to look at, it is dangerous and the public is prohibited
from playing on the ice.