Bear Valley Communities

Community Action Guide

In 2016, the communities embarked on a collective planning process to develop a new community plan. Over the course of a year, residents, business and property owners, and community leaders attended three public workshops (March 3 and 31 and July 21). During the workshops, participants worked collaboratively to identify strengths and weaknesses, describe the communities’ values, and define future aspirations. With an orientation toward community-based implementation, workshop participants brainstormed areas of focus and actions to help the Bear Valley Communities move forward to achieve their aspirations.

This Community Action Guide is a framework of actions identified by the community and supports implementation of the actions by the community. The goals and policies from the previous Community Plan were used to inform the guide and the Policy Plan portion of the Countywide Plan. 

Who We Are

Bear Valley is made up of several small mountaintop communities where residents enjoy a slow, relaxed, unhurried pace of living in the tranquil setting of the San Bernardino National Forest. Bear Valley residents value the pristine beauty of its environment, supportive and neighborly bonds, and quiet, uncrowded neighborhoods built upon a well-established tourist economy. Stakeholders in Bear Valley strive to enhance the built environment, preserve natural resources, expand recreational opportunities, promote health, safety, and well-being, diversify and balance the economy, and expand their input on local matters.

  • Strengths and Opportunities

    Community workshops were conducted in each community as part of the engagement process. In addition, input was gathered through the Countywide Plan website. As part of the process, participants defined the strengths of and opportunities for their community. The word cloud below was created using the input provided during the Strengths, Opportunities, Values and Aspirations exercises and served as part of the base information utilized to develop the Focus and Action Statements of the Community Action Guide. The word cloud quickly informed participants of key issues and focus areas that could be addressed in the guide. The more a word or phrase was articulated, the larger the word appears in the cloud. The full results of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats gathered as a part of the engagement process is found in the Community Profile.

  • Community Values

    The Values are those shared assets, principles, standards, mores, and in the judgement of the community, what is important in the lives of its residents and businesses. A community’s values are an important consideration in shaping its aspirations, focus and actions.

    As a community we value:

    • Small-Town Mountain Lifestyle. Bear Valley residents value the beauty and tranquility of living in a small mountaintop environment where connections to community and nature are both strong and family-oriented.
    • Slower Pace of Life. Bear Valley residents value a slow pace of life in quiet, uncrowded crime-free neighborhoods, and respect for privacy.
    • Quality Environment. Bear Valley residents value clean air, dark skies, breathtaking views, natural habitats, and well-managed recreational resources.
    • Supportive, Neighborly Bonds. Bear Valley residents value supporting those in need and investing in community well-being by donating time and financial resources to local organizations.
    • Established, Evolving Economy. Bear Valley residents value recognition as a historic tourist destination with a well-established local economy offering a reasonable cost of living and opportunities for future economic growth.
  • Community Profile

    The community profile is a summary of the social, cultural, economic, and historic dimensions of the Bear Valley Communities. It presents data collected through secondary sources to inform future actions. The profile, together with future studies and information gathered from residents, highlights essential facets and “tells the story” of the Bear Valley Communities of Baldwin Lake, Big Bear City, Erwin Lake, Fawnskin/North Shore, Lake Williams, Moonridge, and Sugarloaf.

    2019 Community Profile (opens in a new window)

The Aspirations Statement is a written narrative illustrating how the community desired look and function once the Community Focus Statements and Action Statements are accomplished. This is a long term view of 10 to 20 years. The Aspirations Statement serves as a foundation for developing Community Focus Statements and Action Statements.

In the Bear Valley Communities, we aspire to have:

  • Improved Built Environment

    As a four-seasons resort destination, our communities attract business-supporting tourists throughout the year. Community members prioritized improvements to our built environment, including updated and well-maintained building facades, road maintenance, street improvements, and addressing accessibility concerns throughout the communities. These improvements have helped to enhance our commercial areas and decrease traffic and safety issues during peak tourism months.

  • Clean, Safe, and Healthy Future

    Residents created a number of programs to address health and safety within the communities. Through regular community cleanup events, volunteers work to keep the pristine mountain area free of debris that takes away from the beauty of the environment and community. As a result of increased engagement with the San Bernardino County Human Services Department, increased services are available for people of all ages to promote mental and behavioral well-being. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department also established an annual class with community members that teaches residents how to safely and properly protect themselves and their neighbors through the implementation of a neighborhood watch program, which empowers residents to proactively address code violations, vacation home rental problems, and other potential nuisances.

  • Balanced Economy

    The Bear Valley communities have a vibrant and balanced economy that includes tourism, health and wellness, environmental sciences, recreation, forestry, and activities and employment for people of all ages. Residents created community groups that work with the County of San Bernardino to market all aspects of the area, boost the local workforce in all industries, and bring investment into the area.

  • Preservation of Natural Beauty

    The Bear Valley communities are unique in terms of their location in Southern California. Residents work to create educational materials for new community members and visitors, including a “welcome packet” that gives recommendations for how to live and play within a mountain environment without having a negative impact on the area.

  • Recreational Opportunities

    The mountain environment offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities throughout the year. During the winter, residents and visitors enjoy alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow play, and biking. During the other three seasons, residents and visitors enjoy hiking, biking, camping, horseback riding, off-road touring, golfing, fishing, and watersports. Local interest groups collaborate with the County of San Bernardino and the US Forest Service to increase signage on trails and in outdoor spaces, which help to increase safety and enjoyment when using these areas.

  • Expanded Input in Local Matters

    Our communities take pride in our ability to ensure personal freedom and integrity and local strength in decision-making. Through the creation of a local committee of community leaders who are responsible for working with the County of San Bernardino and other outside agencies the voice of the communities is heard in all matters impacting the area. Opportunities for making the communities’ voice heard is available through an increased number of community meetings and the preparation of formal recommendations for consideration by the County.

The Action Plans consists of:

Focus Statements, which provide general direction towards realizing the Community’s aspirations and help organize the plan. (Identified in Workshop #2 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #3)

Action Statements, which are measurable statements providing critical information on the program, initiative or project to complete. (Identified in Workshop #2 and reviewed and finalized in Workshop #3)

Action Plan Matrices, which provide general sets of action steps necessary to implement each action statement, identify those that would initiate and champion the action statement, provide a general timeline for implementation and identify resources for additional assistance. (Created to support and guide the Community’s identified Focus and Action Statements)


Expand each Focus Statement to see related Action Statements and download the Action Plan Matrices.

  • A. Improve the quality of our built environment to enhance community health, safety, neighborhood character, and the image of our business corridors.
    Action Statements
    1. Work with San Bernardino County Code Enforcement to develop educational materials to inform residents and property owners about County Codes, with a particular emphasis on inoperable vehicles, unpermitted construction, property maintenance, and other community concerns as they may change from time to time, and encourage local residents to report persistent problems to Code Enforcement.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Establish a community cleanup program in collaboration with community service organizations, local schools, and Big Bear Disposal to assist with large item trash pickup at least two times per year.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Construct public restrooms in two locations accessible to people arriving to the east end of the Big Bear Valley. If permanent restrooms are infeasible due to maintenance costs, install portable restrooms during peak visitor seasons, including three-day holiday weekends.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Adopt development standards and public infrastructure in commercial areas appropriate for a rural mountain community.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Establish and implement a façade and sign improvement program for existing and future businesses.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    6. Construct improved bus stops with permanent and accessible benches and shelters in order to improve comfort and safety for bus riders, in partnership with Mountain Transit and local organizations such as the Community Services District, community service organizations, and local businesses.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    7. Promote cleanup and repurposing of underutilized properties along Big Bear Boulevard, in Fawnskin, and in other key locations as identified by program partners.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    8. Create and maintain a healthy forest and forest fuels management program.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • B. Reduce traffic congestion by improving transit services, roadways and recreational networks for pedestrians and bicyclists, and transit riders.
    Action Statements
    1. Advocate for improved transportation options and reduced automobile traffic through Big Bear City on State Route 18 and State Route 38, which become congested with tourist traffic during peak holiday weekends and seasons. Solutions should be integrated with valley-wide and regional strategies and may include transit improvements, shuttle services, streetscape improvements (including pedestrian and bicycle facilities), marketing, or transportation access guides implemented in coordination with Mountain Transit, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, the City of Big Bear Lake, the California Department of Transportation, the Big Bear Valley Tourism Business Improvement District, and/or other relevant organizations.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. IN PROCESS: Advocate for implementation of the Big Bear Valley Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Equestrian Master Plan in collaboration with partners such as the City of Big Bear Lake, County of San Bernardino Public Works, the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation, and the Southern California Mountains Foundation and under the leadership of the Big Bear Valley Trails Coordinator.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • C. Build human capital and promote enterprise, with a focus on environmentally friendly businesses, to strengthen the local economy and provide opportunities for residents and families to be self-reliant.
    Action Statements
    1. Promote child and youth development, social and civic responsibility, and environmental stewardship by establishing a multigenerational community council with youth in leadership positions to advocate for and support activities that enrich our community and our environment.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Establish entrepreneurship, business training, and career development programs in partnership with local colleges and universities that empower locals to grow careers or businesses related to the Big Bear Valley economy such as outdoor recreation, high altitude training, health, wellness, and rehabilitation services, environmental science, and natural resource extraction and management.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Coordinate with County of San Bernardino Human Services Department to assess local needs, such as wellness checks for seniors, substance abuse counseling, and support for families with children, and deliver mobile services and/or open a new service delivery location in Big Bear City.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    4. Collaborate with the local chambers and County EDA to establish a valley-wide economic development initiative that links emerging entrepreneurs with mentors and potential investors and fosters new business development.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    5. Identify barriers to and implement solutions for building environmentally sensitive recreational businesses (including mountain biking, rock climbing, model plane and drone flying, and high-altitude field training) on publicly owned land.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • D. Become a destination renowned for culture, environment, health, and well-being for people of all ages and abilities.
    Action Statements
    1. Establish a resource conservation program to designate open space resources, establish a dedicated funding source, and actively promote open space protection through land acquisition, conservation easements, mitigation monitoring, volunteer support, and other similar tools.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    2. Promote family- and eco-friendly tourism that educates people about our natural surroundings, dark skies, and quiet nature.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
    3. Enhance existing and create new cultural attractions for diverse groups of people with programs like Shakespeare in the Forest, a vaquero/cowboy festival, mining tours, and similar events.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix
  • E. Strengthen the relationship between Big Bear Valley and the County of San Bernardino to increase the County’s understanding of the community.
    Action Statements
    1. Establish a Bear Valley Municipal Advisory Council as an avenue for accurate and transparent communications between local residents, Big Bear Valley leaders, and County officials.

      >>Download PDF Action Matrix

Download the Community Action Guide

Download the Community Action Guide in PDF format.