March 2019 Newsletter

MARCH 15, 2019

BOARD MEETING & RETREAT

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RIM OF THE WORLD INTERMOUNTAIN TRAIL

“WORLD CLASS”

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Left to Right: Bev Brown & Bill Johnson | Left to Right: Jordan Zarate, Carol Kinzel, Chris Ehe, Kevin Somes

Dear Readers,

I appreciate the efforts of the following contributors to this initiative:

  • Kevin Somes for his leadership, hosting and legal review of our articles of incorporation and bylaws
  • Bill Johnson for joining us with an exciting economic initiative that our Mountain community should fully support and collaborating with Heaps Peak Arboretum
  • Chris and Lucas Ehe for drafting a conceptual trails map
  • Mike Bishop for doing important field survey work and operating a trails-related business, a forerunner (rider?) of things to come!
  • Laura Dyberg, Carol Kinzel and Bev Brown for managing the burdensome details of processing our articles of incorporation
  • Carol for pursuing the relocation and expansion of her nature center
  • Bev for initiating arrangements for a post office box and bank account
  • Jordan Zarate for creating an Alliance website and serving as webmaster
  • Mike Scullin, Jim Newcomb and Chris for coordinating with Scouts BSA
  • Ken Witte for involving ROWIA (Arboretum) and CSA 70 D-1 (MacKay Park) endorsements and collaborating with SkyPark

While the Board is in process of applying for a 501 © (3) private non-profit corporate status, arrangements are being made for a post office box and bank account. In the meantime the Board approved Mike Milliorn of Running Springs as a director replacing Jordan Zarate who continues to serve as alternate as well as webmaster for the Alliance. Mike also serves as director of the Rim of the World Recreation and Park District while Jordan serves on the Rim of the World Unified School District Board.

While the above sage counsel has been pursued, Vice President Chris Ehe, San Manuel (a potential donor) and I agree that

“The big picture always being our goal”

The Board approved designating the Snow Valley sphere of influence as a Phase I demonstration project for planning and implementation largely because of its economic impact on Running Springs as well as traffic heading to Big Bear. The area includes:

  • Arctic Circle
    • Siberia Creek Trail implementation, maintenance and operation
    • 3 peaks planning connecting with Big Bear trail
  • Snow Valley/Rim Nordic
  • Little Green Valley Trail
  • Children’s Forest
    • nature center, trail improvements, Exploration Trail, Dry Creek/Deep Creek/pedestrian/wildlife corridor tunnel rehabilitation
    • SBNF, Southern California Mountains Foundation
    • Meet with District Ranger Marc Stamer regarding Southern California Mountains Foundation
  • Running Springs Commercial Area to the SR 330/18 Junction (Chamber of Commerce)
  • Specific Plan – Blighting influences/Related revitalization/Safe Routes to Schools

Chris Ehe presented four options for pedestrian/wildlife corridor tunnels

Snow Valley Sphere:

  1. Snow Valley/Rim Nordic (new)
  2. Children’s Forest Dry Creek/Deep Creek (existing upgrade)
  3. Sky Park/Heaps Peak Arboretum Sphere (new)
  4. Pali Mountain (new)

Bev Brown, Rim Nordic, questioned the location and the need for a tunnel connecting with Snow Valley, especially since the Trail located on their property could allow users uncontrolled access to their mountain biking, cross-country ski business. This issue should be analyzed as part of a specific plan focused an attractions venue before any development takes place. The inevitability of trails be it intermountain or not is already a reality, including the USFS-designated Siberia Creek and Little Green Valley Trails within the vicinity. Public trails can be developed outside of private or concession property while still having controlled access. Indeed it could serve as a marketing tool for business. In order to obtain outside funding, a connecting spur would have to be developed with local attractions, most importantly the Pacific Crest Trail even though bikers are not allowed. This issue should be further pursued by the Board.

Bruce Daniels:

  1. Dry Creek/Deep Creek is a top priority
  • Children’s Forest (including Hoffman Elementary School and Hootman Community Center) connects with the Running Springs commercial area away from high speed highway traffic with curves and hills
  • Caltrans road yard is located adjacent to Dry Creek underpass
  • Cost of upgrading the existing tunnel is probably much lower than new construction
  • Dry Creek/Deep Creek Trail is a user-generated U.S. Forest Service riparian pathway with access along a waterway and geologic attraction, ‘The Narrows”, ultimately connecting with Deep Creek, a rare year-round stream flowing to the PCT. The easement and its surrounding require naturalizing via the removal of blighting influences.
  • Hikers/bikers already use the trail randomly raising existing security issues affecting CLAWA lines. Official designation providing improvements could address security issues, provide maintenance and monitoring via a more caring usage for observant and responsive users. Improvement of this user-generated trail would reduce cost.
  • The trail is identified on the 1998 SBNF draft intermountain trail map.
  1. Canyon Park – Rene Vandergrift

RECOMMENDATION: Abandon consideration of route as an intermountain trail route and eliminate from map thereby reducing unnecessary controversy while encouraging support.

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  1. SkyPark/Arboretum Tunnel should be pursued with Caltrans under the direction of Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson serves as an alternate Alliance Board member and General Manager of the privately owned SkyPark at Santa’s Village, a critical partner along with the Heaps Peak Arboretum..

Ken Witte and Carol Kinzel serve as Alliance Alternate and Board members respectively. Both serve on the Board of the Rim of World Interpretive Association, responsible for managing the U.S. Forest Service Heaps Peak Arboretum.

These projects are jointly part of Phase I, representing Lake Arrowhead

Caltrans, ATP funding source, is requiring SkyPark to construct a signalized crosswalk. Bill Johnson has budgeted for development despite his preferred choice of constructing a tunnel under State Route 18 “The Rim of the World Scenic Byway”, similar to the USFS Cougar Crest Trail Tunnel in Big Bear connecting with hikers from its Serrano campground.

Signaled crosswalks constitute an attractive nuisance increasing potential risk for accidents as opposed to a tunnel, which could also serve as a wildlife corridor. The Alliance has not pursued any contact with Caltrans regarding substituting a tunnel. That would require assembling a team under Bill Johnson’s direction backed by strong community, environmental organization and perhaps political support.

Former San Manuel Tribal Chairman and County Supervisor for Big Bear and the Front County, James Ramos (D), is currently a State Assemblyman. Assemblyman Jay Obernolte is the former Mayor of the City of Big Bear Lake. Governor Gavin Newsom as Lieutenant Governor served as Chairman of the California Economic Development Commission. Finally, the San Bernardino County Transportation District Authority (formerly SANBAG) Director is Ray Wolfe, former Caltrans District 9 Director. As Director Ray accelerated completion of SR 330, an important access artery washed out and closed to traffic. Regarding the last closure of SR 18 barring access to Snow Valley and Big Bear, local businesses and the County rallied to accelerate Caltrans repair and re-opening of the road for ski and tourist traffic. The SBCTA governing body includes the County and City of Big Bear Lake. Josh Lee of the SBCTA administered the Caltrans ATP Planning grant.

As reported, Governor Newsom said he crafted the State budget with input from legislative leaders and was met with praise from Democrats and outside interest groups. Even Republican lawmakers seemed pleasantly surprised, including Assembly Budget Committee Vice Chair Jay Obernolte, R-Hesperia.

“I tell you what, I was very impressed with Gov. Newsom,” he said, calling out Newsom’s focus on paying down debt. He’s clearly a smart guy. It was very clear that he’s been involved and engaged with the entire budget process. He was knowledgeable about budget issues”

Access to the PCT is the determining factor. Green Valley Lake may offer an alternative.

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Other phases identified now on hold

  • Blue Jay sphere of influence
  • Crestline sphere of influence

Karla Kellums, Rim Community Hikers, recommended including an Adopt-a-Trail Program. Her group will be requesting such an arrangement with the San Bernardino National Forest (U.S. Forest Service) regarding the Siberia Creek Trail. The SBNF has approached Snow Valley in an effort to expand it concession to connect with Siberia Creek Trail.

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Bruce Cort Daniels, Interim Manager

 

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