“Local” Bald Eagle Counts Remain High…..This is Good News!

eagle_face_treesOn Saturday, March 8 the final bald eagle count of the winter was conducted by volunteer eagle observers and local Federal and State biologists around several lakes in southern California.

A grand total of seven adult and two juveniles were observed during the one-hour count. Five bald eagles (four adults and one juvenile) were observed at Big Bear Lake. One juvenile eagle was seen at lake Arrowhead, two adult eagles were sighted at Silverwood Lake, one adult eagle was seen at Lake Hemet. No eagles were spotted at Lake Gregory or Lake Perris. Approximately 191 observers participated in the one-hour eagle census (57 at Big Bear Lake, 20 at Lake Gregory, 68 at Silverwood Lake, 19 at Lake Hemet and 37 at Lake Perris).

Bald eagle counts have been conducted at some of the sites since 1978 and all the sites have been participating since about the year 2000. Four monthly counts are conducted between December and March to estimate the number of bald eagles that are wintering in the area and the highest numbers are typically discovered in February and March.

March 8 was a beautiful day for spotting eagles and was a great way to end the winter eagle consensus, said Forest Service spokesman John Miller. Many of the bald eagles have started migrating out of southern California, heading north to their breeding grounds. A few breeding pairs have set up nesting territories and are year-round residents. A pair of bald eagles is tending their nest at Lake Hemet and in early February Big Bear Lake’s nesting pair hatched two chicks but they didn’t survive last week’s severe storm.

As bald eagles raise families in southern California, it is now possible to see bald eagles year-round (not just during their winter migration). Because of the influx of migrating bald eagles during the winter, the easiest time to see them is still between December and march.

The bald eagle is a success story of the federal Endangered Species Act. Through protection under that law, its populations have recovered from being on the brink of extinction. Captive breeding programs, reintroduction efforts, the banning of DDT and public education have all helped in the recovery of this species. There are now over 10,000 breeding pairs in the United States and they now breed again in all 49 of the continental United States. (They have never bred in Hawaii.)

Because of the population rebound, bald eagles are no longer in jeopardy of going extinct. While bald eagles are no longer protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, they still have full protection under the Bald Eagle Protection Act and under the State of California’s Endangered Species Act. These laws make it illegal to harm or harass bald eagles. It is also illegal to possess bald eagle parts, even a feather.

Catching a glimpse of the country’s breath-taking national symbol is relatively easy during winter months. There are some fantastic opportunities for excellent close-up photographs too. Just look in the tallest trees around the lake near open water for perching eagles. or, if the lake is partly frozen, look for eagles perched on the ice near small groups of ducks using the open water.

If you want to look for eagles in the Big Bear area, stop at the Forest Service’s Big Bear Discover Cent er which is located on North Shore Drive, one and one-half miles west of the Standfield Cutoff and pick up a handout on eagles. Also, feel free to join one of the forest service free public talks. For information on date and times call the Big Bear Discovery Center at (990( 382-2790.

Remember that human presence may distract or disturb the eagles so try to limit your movements and do not make loud noises when they’re nearby. If possible, remain in your car while looking at eagles because the care acts as a blind. Stay a respectful of at least 200 to 300 feet away from perched bald eagles. Do not get closer than one-quarter mile away from nesting bald eagles. Trying to get a closer look may result in eagles becoming agitated and knocking eggs or chicks out of the nest. Remember, it is illegal to harm or harass bald eagles. Please do your part to help protect our national bird.

Anyone who has had the privilege of seeing a bald eagle in the wild cannot help but be awed by the experience. I remember many years ago I was taking a “mini vacation” at the beautiful Lake Arrowhead Resort and there was a huge eagle’s nest at the top of one of the tall trees directly outside the resort. The view from the tall lobby windows was perfect for watching this magnificent, huge bird fly back and forth to and from its nest. To put it mildly……………..it was thrilling!

It’s That Time Again……….Volunteers Needed to Count Bald Eagles

eagle_face_treesVolunteers are needed to help county bald eagles for the 35th season in the annual bald eagle counts in and near the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains.

Concurrent Bald Eagle counts are held in Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Lake Silverwood, Lake Perris and Lake Hemet. Volunteers are stationed at vantage points around the lakes where they watch for bald eagles during a one-hour period on the county mornings. Two of the events have already been held but counts will continue on February 8 and March 8.

Volunteers record their observations on maps and data sheets. This is a wonderful opportunity to catch a glimpse of our breathtaking national symbol. Brief orientations are conducted prior to the county so volunteers know where to go and what to do.Through this method, the agencies and land managers have learned a lot about which areas are important to eagles and how the populations are doing. But we can’t do it without a lot of volunteers….we need their eyes to help us look/” said Forest Service Biologist Robin Eliason. No experience is needed to volunteer and signing up ahead of the count is not necessary. “Just show up at the designated time and location, dress warmly, bring binoculars and a watch,” she said.

* Big Bear Lake area volunteers will meet for an orientation at 8 a.m. at the Forest Service’s Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive. Contact Drew Farr at ddpfarr@fs.fed.us or call (909) 382-2816 for information. Call (909) 382-2832 for information on a possible cancellation due to weather conditions. An outgoing message will be left by 6:30 a.m. on the morning of the count if it has to be cancelled. Contact the Discovery Center at 909-382-2790 for information about Eagle celebrations. There will also be a free slideshow about bald eagles at 11 a.m.

* Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory volunteers should meet at 8 a.m. at the Skyforest Ranger Station for orientation. Contact Drew Farr (dfarr) or call 909-382-2816 for information. Call 909 382-2832 to check on any possible cancellation due to weather.

* Silverwood Lake volunteers should plan to meet at the Visitor Center at 8 a.m. for orientation. Contact Kathy Williams or Mark Wright for information about volunteering or taking an eagle tour (760-389-2303) between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. or e-mail: khwilliams@parks.ca.gov.

* Lake Hemet volunteers should meet at the Lake Hemet Grocery store at 8:30 a.m. for orientation. Contact Anne Poopatanapong (apoopatanapong@fs.fed.us) or call (909) 382-2935 for information.

* Lake Perris State Recreation Area volunteers should meet at the Lake Perris Regional Indian Museum at 8 a.m. for orientation. Contact the office at (951) 940-5600 for information.

This always sounds like a cold, but fascinating event so bundle up and volunteer. Who knows? You may just see one of nature’s most magnificent birds and the symbol of our country.

Big Bear Group of Sierra Club to Tackle Bertha Peak

hiking_BWAre you one of those hikers that can’t wait to earn your “Big Bear Five Peaks Patch?” If so, you can participate in the Bertha Peak hike on Saturday, October 19. The hike is rated “moderate” with an approximate 1,400 foot elevation gain. The seven and one-half mile hike will be challenging and those members who are striving to get their “Peaks of Big Bear” patch can add this hike to their repertoire. The patch is earned by hiking all five peaks that overlook Big Bear Valley and those who achieve this goal will earn a patch and, no doubt, some justifiable  bragging rights.

On October 19 hikers should meet at the Cougar Crest trailhead at 8:30 a.m. The trailhead is located 100 yards west of the Big Bear Discovery Center. A Forest Service Adventure Pass is required to park so be sure to take some money so you can purchase the pass.

All hikers should take two liters of water, a snack and/or lunch, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and wear good hiking shoes.

For information or to register contact hike leader, Ed Caliendo at (909) 878-3813 or send an e-mail to dogs111@msn.com.

Forest Service Raises Fire Restrictions

Forest Service flogoJune 28 the fire use restrictions in the San Bernardino National Forest will rise and residents and visitors need to be aware of the changes.

Each year the forest service makes changes, according to weather, time of year and potential issues to the forest and its visitors.

This past winter less than average winter snow and rainfall occurred as a result of the second year of drought. unfortunately the seasonal outlook again expects a warmer and drier summer this year with below average summer “monsoonal” rains. This could create the potential for larger fires.

Forest officials are taking these steps to prevent human-caused fires and to raise public awareness. Most fires in the San Bernardino National Forest are caused by humans and the increased restrictions are designed to reduce wildland fire. Forest visitors are reminded to exercise caution when visiting the National Forest and they need to maintain a higher level of awareness with the increased fire risk.

Travelers and visitors can do the following to help prevent wildland fires:

* Be informed and abide by all fire restrictions

* Vehicles should always remain on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass.

* Use extreme caution around open flame or heat-producing sources.

* Motorists should use their car ashtray instead of tossing cigarettes out the window. Also, be aware that hot brake shoes, hot exhaust system, overheating of vehicles and dragging tow chains can cause fires. Keep tow chains high and off the ground.

* Report all suspicious activities to law enforcement.

* Fire restrictions and guidelines effective Friday, June 28 on the San Bernardino National Forest include:

* Wood and charcoal fires are permitted only in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds and within agency provided fire rings or camp stoves.* Wood and charcoal fires are not permitted at Yellow Post campsites, Fisherman’s Camp, Cedar Springs or the following Pacific Crest Trail Camps: Bench Camp, Deer Springs, Doble, Holcomb Crossing, Little Bear Springs and Mission Springs.

* Campfire permits are required for propane and gas stoves and lanterns used outside of all developed recreation sites.

* Recreational shooting is limited to Public Shooting ranges operated under special use permit only, except those engage din legal hunting.

* An approved spark arrester is required for any internal combustion engine operated on designated forest routes. These include chainsaws, generators, motorcycles and off-highway vehicles.

* Smoking is limited to an enclosed vehicle or building or within a Developed Recreation site.

* Fireworks are ALWAYS prohibited

in the San Bernardino National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service will be aggressively citing those who do not comply with the posted restrictions. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment of a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law.

People may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.

Forest visitors are encouraged to “know Before You Go” and call ahead to the local Ranger station to check on location conditions and restrictions at the following offices:

* San Bernardino National Forest Supervisor’s office, 602 S. Tippecanoe Avenue, San Bernardino. (909)382-2790;

* Big Bear Discovery Center, 41397 North Shore Drive/ Hwy. 18, Fawnskin, (909) 382-2790;

* Idyllwild Ranger station, 54270 Pine Crest, Idyllwild. (909) 382-2922.

* Lytle Creek Ranger Station, 1209 Lytle Creek Road, Lytle Creek. (909) 382-2851.

Mill Creek Visitor Center, 34701 Mill Creek Road, Mentone. (909) 382-2881.

* Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, 51-500  Hwy. 74, Palm Desert. (760) 862-9984.









“Tribute” Concerts Mean Great Music in Big Bear This Summer

music notesFawnskin, CA . . . The Southern California Mountains Foundation is bringing the harmony of music to the Big Bear Discovery Center Amphitheater
to benefit the harmony of nature through its 2013 “Music in the Mountains” summer concert series.
Music lovers who attend the performances of classic rock can give back to the health and harmony of their favorite mountain playground while enjoying the best tribute shows on the West Coast. What a deal!
“Music in the Mountains”  is in  its 9th season, and it is a fundraiser for restoration of the San Bernardino National Forest, America’s most recreated National Forest.
“This season is fully loaded with three  tribute shows that continue the celebration of our 20 year anniversary as a nonprofit,” exclaimed Kathy Clapsaddle, event producer and development director of the  Southern California Mountains Foundation. “Our schedule is honoring four decades of great harmony featuring our signature acts with new opening bands and  a whole new show in a series packaged exclusively for the Discovery Center Amphitheater stage,” she added.
The three concert dates are June 29, July 20 and August 31, 2013. Tickets are selling briskly and can be purchased online at http://www.MountainsFoundation.org. Season passes, single event bench seat packages, and general admission tickets are on sale.
Music lovers looking for classic rock tribute music
 will enjoy the music of the Eagles, Journey, America, CCR and Jimmy Buffet.  British bands of the 70s and 80s as well as reggae music will also be featured.
With these exciting “on the mountain” concerts residents and visitors don’t have to travel to a venue in Los Angeles or some crowded indoor casino to revive their classic rock musical soul  in search of some of the best tribute music performing on the West Coast. It’s as close as one of the most intimate magical and outdoor concert venues in the heart of Southern California’s favorite mountain playground, the Big BearDiscovery Center Amphitheater.
Based upon availability, packages rates to attend all the concerts will be $115.
Single event “bench seat packages” for adult music lovers who want their reserved parking and bench seating for  an “up close” experience  will pay $40 for the June 29 event; $40 for the July 20 concert and $35 for the August 31 event.

For the 2013 season, parking and bench seating are reserved exclusively for season passes and single event bench packages. General admission ticket buyers can enjoy the open and casual seating areas for those who love to bring their own beach chairs and settle in for great shows.
June 29
“Classic Rock Harmony Tour”
Experience the Eagles with special guests, Fortunate Son
Tribute to John Fogerty and Creedance Clearwater Revival
& Band with No Name,
The America Show  is approved by “America”
The Long Run Experience, the Eagles, has earned its
place among the top drawing tribute acts in North America and is regarded as
one of the finest Eagles tributes in the world. Marked by lush vocal harmonies and exceptional musical accuracy, every “Long Run” performance delivers a reverence for the Eagles’ beloved studio recordings with “The Long Run’s”
own live concert energy.
The Special guest is“A Band with No Name” This “features members of  “The Long Run” with Kenny Cetera, brother of Chicago’s Peter Cetera, offering the classics such as“Ventura Highway”,”A Horse with No Name”,“Sister Golden Hair” and more.
This tribute has the seal of approval from “America’s Gerry Beckley and
Dewey Bunnell.
And, “Fortunate Son”  performing the monster hits of
John Fogerty and Creedence Clearwater Revival including “Suzy Q”, “Proud Mary”, “Heard it Through the Grapevine” and many more that defined the late 60’s, the 70’s and the ’80s.
“Don’t Stop Believin’, the world’s Favorite Tribute to Journey with special guest The British Beat.
DSB (Don’t Stop Belivin’)  returns for a third command performance as the World’s Favorite Tribute to Journey. In an international search for the best 12 tribute bands, DSB was voted by their fans as #1 tribute to the legendary Journey.
Highly revered by fans as “the next best thing”, this tribute band has captured the lush signature sound of renowned vocalist Steve Perry is brilliantly delivered byJuan Del Castillo. This band “speaks to” Journey in their prime. Complete with a band of world-class Los Angeles musicians, including the incomparable drummer Scotty Kormos, DSB remains true to Journey’s musical legacy and
delivers the nostalgic concert experience that will keep you “Believin.” Special guest, The British Beat, will open the show with the hits  from the British bands who defined the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. This promises to be a great show that will rock the mountaintop into a fever pitch;  so it’s destined to be a sell-out event.
August 31
The finale event to the 2013 will be an “Endless Summer” beach party featuring the incomparable tribute show for all Parrot Head lovers of Jimmy Buffet. Gary Seiler and the Coast Riders bring a fresh
face and high energy show delivering the classic harmonies of Jimmy buffet’s Margaritaville sound as well as  great beach music to close out an amazing season. Gary Seiler handles  lead vocals and he has delivered the longest running  Southern California tribute show to the master himself as he has opened for Jimmy Buffet and also performed on the same stage.
Proceeds from ticket and concession sales generated by Music in the Mountains will support aggressive reforestation initiatives managed by the Southern California Mountains Foundation in the San Bernardino mountains.
 The San Bernardino National Forest welcomes over 15 million visitors annually and is the southern California  mountain playground to 24 million residents or 10% of the nation’s population. Quite amazing, isn’t it?!
 The Mountains Foundation achieves its mission by raising money, organizing critical volunteer resources,and creating and managing programs focused on health, stewardship and sustainability of the Southern California mountains. Visit http://www.MountainsFoundation.org for more information.
For ticket prices (they’re really inexpensive) and/or more information call The Big Bear Discovery Center at (909) 382-2790 or log onto: smiggens@mountainsfoundation.org.

Big Bear Discovery Center Plans Special Day on Migratory Birds

Wow!  This is a really cool day planned for bird lovers and those who respect these fabulous creatures; we have 5 hours planned to celebrate our fine feathered friends and how we can become better bird stewards.  Lots of activities for family fun; please promote through your resources; thank you in advance for the support!

Big Bear Discovery Center Celebrates

International Migratory Bird Day

May 11, 2013; 10am – 3pm

Fawnskin, CA. . . International Migratory Bird Day will be celebrated on May 11, 2013 at over 500 sites throughout the Western Hemisphere including the Big Bear Discovery Center.  A host of activities are planned from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

“As part of the annual celebration, this year’s theme focuses on the life cycles of migratory birds,” shared Meredith Brandon, Southern California Mountains Foundation Interpretive Programming Manager.  “Each year millions of birds make long-distance journeys following resources in the northern and southern hemispheres. By engaging in simple acts of conservation, families and nature lovers are invited to learn how they can get involved in those efforts and become good migratory bird stewards.” she added.

International Migratory Bird Day also kicks off the Center’s 1st annual Birdhouse Art Contest. A total of 20 local artists donated their time and artistic talents to participate in the contest as a fund-raiser for the Center’s environmental education programs. Funds raised through the silent auction will go towards the purchase of a class set of binoculars to provide local students with the opportunity to get engaged and inspired to become migratory bird stewards. The silent auction will begin on Saturday, May 11 at 10am and run through Monday, May 27th (Memorial Day) at 4:30pm.  Starting bids begin at $25 and the birdhouses will be on display at the center or can be viewed through the Big Bear Discovery Center Facebook page. Everyone is encouraged to make a bid and help support the environmental education efforts of the Mountains Foundation.

Here is the schedule of activities:

9:30-10:30am – Build a Birdhouse

Bluebirds will love your yard with this well-designed birdhouse that you can build! Volunteers will provide Kits for individuals or families to build together during this 2-hour program sponsored by Butcher’s Block. Class limited to 20 people on a first-come basis; Fee: $6 per kit

10am- Bird Walk

Join Bill Downs, former owner of Wild Wings Unlimited, for a morning bird walk. Bring your binoculars and bird guides to identify birds in the area. Meet at the bronze grizzly bear in front of the Discovery Center. FREE!

12:30pm & 2pm- Story Time

Enjoy a bird-themed story time, great for families and little ones! FREE!

12-2pm Bird-inspired Nature Craft

Join our youth volunteers for a fun nature craft inspired by birds! Free ~ Donations appreciated

1pm & 2pm – Guided Nature Walks

Join a Naturalist for a 30 minute walk around our forested grounds. Nature walks meet at the bronze grizzly bear in front of the Discovery Center. FREE!

1-3pm- NestWatch TrainingFREE!

Become a citizen scientist and make a difference!  Learn how to safely and properly monitor bird nests, and contribute towards the conservation and study of birds by joining the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s NestWatch program. Open to the public.  Please RSVP to Meredith Brandon at 909-382-2842 or mbrandon@mountainsfoundation.org

Following is the link to the IMBD website:  http://www.birdday.org/birdday

Big Bear Discovery Center Facebook page: http://www.facebool.com/bigbeardiscoverycenter

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 About the Southern California Mountains Foundation:  The Southern California Mountains Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that (1) supports youth development through conservation initiatives integrating environmental education, training and hands-on service projects; (2) protects our natural resources  through adult and family-led programming; and (3) provides interpretive services that focus on outdoor recreation, responsible use, and stewardship of our natural environment.  The Mountains Foundation achieves its mission by raising money, organizing critical volunteer resources, and creating and managing programs focused on health, stewardship and sustainability of our Southern

California mountains and urban “forests”.   Visit www.MountainsFoundation.org 

Kathy Clapsaddle

Development Ops Director

Southern California Mountains Foundation