Deputies from the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station arrested Kyle Zickefoose, 23, Oct. 1 on charges of destroying protected ecosystem of flora and fauna found nowhere in the world except Big Bear.
Shortly before 10 a.m. Oct. 1, a report was received regarding vehicles off-roading in the Pebble Plain Ecological Reserve in the forested area south of upper Moonridge. The area is south of Angels Camp and Kalmath roads in Big Bear Lake. The reserve is a protected ecosystem that began 8,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Deputies observed a Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet truck on the reserve in an area that was posted “Conservation Land, No Vehicles.” Deputies contacted the driver of the Jeep, identified as Kyle Zickefoose.
Zickefoose and his passenger were aware they were in a protected area, but ignored the signs, according to authorities. They got stuck in a ravine during their off-roading adventure in the Jeep. Zickefoose apparently went home to get a truck to pull the Jeep out of the ravine, authorities said. While making his way back the Jeep, Zickefoose allegedly used a saw to cut down tree limbs to clear the narrow space to allow the truck to pass through. His alleged actions destroyed erosion control material as well as bushes and trees.
Zickefoose was arrested without incident and booked into the Big Bear Jail on misdemeanor charges of illegal operation of a vehicle off highway with destruction to land and destruction of vegetation without a permit. The Jeep and truck were towed. Court procedures in this matter are pending in San Bernardino County Superior Court.
For information about authorized off-road trails and OHV permits, motorists are advised to contact the Big Bear Discovery Center at 909-382-2790 or visit http://mountainsfoundation.org/programs/discovery-center.