Big Bear Area Reopens to Visitors | NBC Southern California

Big Bear Area Reopens to Visitors

Some have to stay out, others can't leave

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Big Bear Valley and its recreation areas -- off limits Monday to non-residents -- reopened to the public Tuesday.

    Skiers, snowboarders and other winter recreation-seekers rushed to the area after last week's snowfall. The onslaught of visitors prompted authorities to close access to all of the Big Bear Valley.

    The restrictions affected Highway 38 from Redlands and Yucaipa and Highway 18 from Lucerne Valley. The roads are open Tuesday morning.

    "Gas stations are running out of gas and the grocery stores are running out of food," county spokesman David Wert said Monday.

    The lack of fuel also meant some residents could not leave the area. Only residents and those providing supplies and emergency services were allowed to enter.

    The closure came at the height of ski season.

    Charlie Brewster, owner of the Robinhood Resort in Big Bear Lake, told the LA Times that the restrictions might take a bite out of business.

    "I'm real worried if they're not going to open the roads in an expeditious manner," Brewster told the Times. "If we come into this next (few days) and people don't have access up here, it's basically going to shut us down."

    But once the roads reopen, resort might be able to make up any losses, according to a spokeswoman for Big Bear Mountain Resorts. The organization operates Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.

    "We have the most tremendous conditions, if you can imagine," spokeswoman Tamara Hemmerly told the Times.