​>>  the Winter Wonderland

    The San Bernardino National Forest  

Big Bear Lake east view of Big Bear Valley​ Dam and Bridge. PHOTO Courtesy of Millener Productions  


U.S. Forest, San Bernardino, California, January 8, 2016 ___

The first El Nino storms brought plenty of fresh snow to the local mountains in Southern California, creating a winter wonderland. 

With the snow, visitors need to plan for heavy traffic this weekend.  The US Forest Service, Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol are asking visitors to Know Before You Go by calling ahead to check on current conditions in the local mountains.

Unlike some of the wildlife that lives within them, America’s forests do not hibernate for the winter. Rather, many of these areas are open to a host of recreational opportunities unique to the season. Cross-country and downhill skiing as well as snowshoeing, snowboarding, and snow play are just a few of the activities that you can enjoy on public lands.

“As the lure of the fresh snow appeals to residents across the southland, we’re asking folks to be wise and follow safe practices while in snowy conditions across the forest,” said Deputy Forest Supervisor John D. Exline. “We want everyone to have safe visit, drive with care, park legally and pack out your trash,” Exline added.  

Winter Visitor Tips:


·       Winter weather conditions in the mountains can be extreme and change without notice. An inadequately clothed person can get hypothermia (low internal body temperature). Hypothermia can be deadly – learn to recognize the early symptoms. Keep warm and dry.

·       Stay Away from ice covered lakes and streams. Over the past decade several forest visitors have fallen through thin ice and drown. – Do not attempt to cross any water.

·       Be extremely careful when walking on ice covered or slippery surfaces like parking areas and trails and especially steep slopes. One slip could result in a serious injury.

·       Be courteous and remember that you are sharing public lands with other recreational users. Do not recreate on unauthorized areas or private property.

·       Bring along extra safety items such as extra clothing, blankets, water, flashlights, maps, and your cell phone. Did you remember spare batteries?

·       “Pack it in, Pack it out” – Do not Litter. Take along a trash bag or other receptacle for collecting your trash so that you can deposit it in the proper trash receptacle.

·       The Forest Adventure Pass must be displayed on a visitor’s parked vehicle when recreating in Winter Special Recreation Permit areas and certain developed sites like campgrounds, snow play, and picnic areas. A list of designated fee sites and areas is posted on the Fee Program website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sanbernardino/ap/


Motorists Tips:


·       Snow Chains are required during winter months.  Be prepared to show them at chain control, and know how to install them.

·       When installing tire chains or traction devices, park in a safe location well off the roadway. Never stop in traffic lanes for these purposes, you may cause other motorists to lose control when they spot your vehicle blocking lanes.

·       Park your vehicle in a safe location and do not double or triple park (blocking in others). Never park in front of closed gates, they may be needed for emergency access, and you could be cited or have your vehicle towed away.

·       Do not park in restricted or No Parking areas.

These are posted for the safety of all travelers.

·       If you are involved in a traffic accident, try to immediately drive your vehicle to the roadside, but only if safe to do so. Getting the obstructing vehicles off the roadway may prevent the accident from getting worse, involving other vehicles. Immediately call 9-1-1,

or ask other travelers to call 9-1-1 for you from the nearest phone.

·       Current road conditions and chain control are available on-line at: http://www.dot.ca.gov/

Forest visitors are encouraged to “Know Before You Go” and call ahead to the local Ranger Station to check on location conditions and restrictions.


·       Big Bear Discovery Center 909-382-2790

·       Front Country Ranger Station 909-382-2851

·       San Jacinto Ranger Station 909-382-2922

·       Mill Creek Visitor Center 909-382-2882

·       Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains Monument Visitor Center 760-862-9984

For additional information about the San Bernardino National Forest, please visit: http://www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf


About the U.S. Forest Service:

The mission of the US Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the US Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation's clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the United States, of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.  Learn more at http://www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf