The Big Bear Grizzly is turning 80 years old this year. In some form or another, this paper has provided news and information to Big Bear Valley for a very long time. We don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary, we have resumed Looking Back, which is a highlight of headlines through the decades. Look for more historical features to be added to Big Bear Grizzly, the Grizzly Weekender and Big Bear Now, but more on that later.

On Page 9 of this week’s issue of the Grizzly, the headlines are somewhat familiar, although they are from days gone by. In 1944, folks were concerned because there was trash and litter left behind on roadsides in Big Bear. In the 1990s, there were worries over the heavy traffic. The skiing was the best in the state and snow, floods hit Big Bear in 1993.

If one didn’t look at the date on the pages, one could conceivably think he or she is reading a story written for a current issue of the Big Bear Grizzly. History apparently does repeat itself, or rather are we doomed to repeat history.

The story in 1944 is  titled Dump Warning and deals with illegal dumping and a notice issued by the Big Bear Ranger Station. In those days, all trash was hauled to the dump. Today we have trash pick up, Dumpsters and public trash sites. Yet we still have illegal dumping in the forest, visitors who leave behind their refuse and broken sleds, or fill business Dumpsters unheeded.

What would it be like if we still had to haul everything to the dump? However, we wonder why are we as a community are still looking for solutions 76 years later for the same problem? That’s more than adequate time for someone or a bunch of someones to put their collective heads together to come up with a way to get people to dispose of their trash appropriately.

Winter storms and excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions bring thousands of visitors to the mountains. Big Bear Boulevard/Highway 18 that runs through Big Bear Valley wasn’t always a four-lane thoroughfare. It was two lanes, one each direction. Turning left could be a long wait. The lines to the ski resorts in those days stretched for miles and miles and more miles.

The traffic management plan with a five-lane highway through the major part of town along with left turn lanes and pockets have eased the congestion to some extent. Imagine what it would be like if there was still just the two-lane road.

Progress and change are facts of life. Without either, Big Bear would become a ghost town. Not all change, nor all progress, are for the best, we agree.

During the next year, as we look back on the history of the Valley, we will explore some of those changes for better or worse. In the meantime, we hope someone comes up with an idea to curb the trash problem.

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