After a significant increase in visitors last year, the occupancy numbers show that things are leveling off and leaning towards pre-COVID-19 trends. In fact, there are approximately 2,600 licensed vacation rentals in the City of Big Bear Lake. Between October 2020 and October 2021, approximately 78% of licensed vacation rentals were booked for less than 180 days, and approximately 48% were booked for less than 90 days. However, that did not stop the City of Big Bear Lake from planning ahead in its continuing quest to obtain a healthy balance between visitors and residents. The city funded four new deputies specifically tasked with parking and traffic enforcement. Since December 17, more than 1,500 citations have been written to enforce illegal parking within city limits.
Several public works employees are onboarding with the city, two of these positions will be dedicated specifically to removing litter. A public information officer has been hired to help educate visitors on responsible tourism as well as help get the word out about the good work the City of Big Bear Lake leadership is doing. Visit Big Bear, the local tourism bureau has created a successful “Care for Big Bear” program, that includes spending close to $200,000 in litter removal.
Through a grant the city is building new, state of the art, restroom facilities at the popular Castle Rock trailhead. The city has worked with the Forest Service to have portable restrooms set up at other popular trailheads and the City’s business owners have done a great job at promoting their services while keeping visitors and residents safe through the Omicron surge. The city has also spearheaded a Traffic Management Plan in partnership with the resorts and the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Working together, the plan has allowed for traffic to flow better in and out of the city as well as to and from the ski resorts.
The City – Southern California’s only four-season resort community – and its residents should be proud of the positive steps that are being taken to mitigate issues that were highlighted during the winter of 2020/2021.