Sunday, March 9, 2014

Have you been to the National Children's Forest?

When visiting Big Bear, there are plenty of "other" things to do besides taking advantage of our 2 ski resorts in the winter or the lake and other out door activities in spring, summer and fall.  One of these "other" things would be planning a visit to the National Children's Forest, located a short drive to the west of Big Bear - about 14 miles or 30 minutes of driving time. The Children's Forest is closed for the winter season and typically open from June - September.  This special forest is a place where children can learn through education and opportunities how to be good caretakers of our natural resources.

The National Children's Forest was created back in the 1970's after the Bear Fire.  It consists of about 3400 acres of re-planted forest.  The trees were planted bearing the names of children, hence the name - Children's Forest!  In 1993 a 3/4 mile interpretive trail to the top of Keller Peak was created by a work group of children from around the country.  Then in 2000 a new trail, the 4.5 mile Exploration Trail was created.  This is one of the most popular hiking trails in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Along with hiking trails, there is a visitor's information center, an environmental education program, a youth leadership volunteer program and an active reforestation program. The knowledgeable naturalists on staff and youth volunteers man the visitor's center to answer questions and provide quality programs for visiting school children, other visitors and the forest.

So, plan on a visit to this special forest and you might even learn something new about our precious natural resource!

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