Big Bear Lake is a small city in San Bernardino County, California. It is a popular year-round resort destination with a population of around 5,000 which swells to 100,000 during many weekends of the year. The city is located about 25 miles northeast of the city of San Bernardino, and immediately west of the unincorporated town of Big Bear City.
Big Bear Lake is Southern California's largest recreation lake. The primary summer attraction is fishing, with the most abundant types of fish being trout, bass, and catfish. Hiking, mountain biking, and horse riding are also very popular: the city is located in the San Bernardino Mountains and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, which offers many trails in varying degrees of difficulty.
Winter activities are also popular in Big Bear. The first ski jump in Big Bear was erected in 1929 and quickly claimed a world ski jump record. The move to a winter resort town was solidified when the resort now known as Snow Summit was opened in 1952. Today there are two ski resorts: Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.
Home to award winning terrain parks and 748 permitted acres, Bear Mountain is Southern California’s epicenter for progression and development in snow sports. Bear is also home to the largest learning area in SoCal. People learn to ski and ride every day of the season. Bear is also home to SoCal’s only halfpipes. Southern California and skiers and riders from all over the world head to the parks and slopes of Bear.
The population of the Big Bear Valley grew rapidly during the Southern California Gold Rush from 1861 to 1912. Grizzly bears, from which the area received its name, were not found in the region after 1908. Black bears were reintroduced in 1933 and they are sometimes sighted in the area.
In the early days, a trip to Big Bear Lake from San Bernardino took two days on horse-drawn coaches. A local, inspired from seeing the world’s first bus line on a trip to New York City, created the world's second bus line from San Bernardino to Big Bear Valley. This made it possible for Big Bear Lake to become the first mountain recreation area in Southern California.
Many people traveled to enjoy recreation on the lake, as well as the natural hot spring. The first major resort in Big Bear, the Pan Hot Springs Hotel, opened in 1921 and was followed by others that strove to be the best by creating a country club atmosphere complete with the amenities required to lure the Hollywood celebrities of the time. By 1924, Big Bear was populated with 44 resorts and a constant stream of vacationers.
Since 1970, Big Bear Lake has held its annual Oktoberfest, which also sports the highest Biergarten in the U.S. (in elevation). Big Bear Lake was incorporated as a city on November 28, 1980. The town is also home to the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, in operation since 1999.
Drug Abuse in Big Bear
This idyllic and fun-packed spot is not immune to the problems of addiction, particularly the dangers of methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine is intense, highly addictive, and extremely dangerous. Recent studies have shown that methamphetamine causes more damage to the brain than heroin, alcohol, and cocaine combined.
Today, rural areas in the Central Valley of California, the desert and forest areas are the source of much of the methamphetamine produced in California and seized elsewhere, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Methamphetamine isn't bound by class: users span all levels and are prevalent in all classes.
Methamphetamine dilates the pupils and produces temporary hyperactivity, euphoria, a sense of increased energy and tremors. Methamphetamine use increases the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and rate of breathing, and it frequently results in erratic and violent behavior in users.
Withdrawal from high doses produces severe depression. Chronic abuse produces a psychosis similar to schizophrenia and is characterized by paranoia, picking at the skin, self-absorption, and auditory and visual hallucinations.
Methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, injected or taken orally, and its appearance varies depending on how it is used. Typically, it is a white bitter-tasting powder. The most common form of the drug used in Big Bear Valley, according to Detective Claudio Vela of the Narcotics Division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, is crystal methamphetamine, or ice, named for its appearance (clear, chunky crystals resembling rock candy). Crystal methamphetamine is smoked in a glass pipe similar to crack cocaine and about 10 to 15 hits can be obtained from a single gram of the substance.
Big Bear Lake provides offers several resources for those seeking rehabilitation from a debilitating addiction to meth, alcohol, marijuana, or any other drug. Different approaches can mean the difference between success and failure, providing new hope for those who may have struggled to overcome addiction in the past.