There is a new opportunity for exploration in the San Bernardino National Forest near Big Bear. Drivers of certain off-highway vehicles can now use three roads in the Big Pine Flats area between Big Bear and Apple Valley, according to a Feb. 28 press release from San Bernardino National Forest.
One section and two full forest system roads have been converted for use by OHV vehicles including ATVs, side-by-sides and some dirt bikes that require a California DMV-issued identification sticker. Those roads are:
• Coxey Road (3N14) — 4.9 miles
• Big Pine Flats Station and Campground Road (3N14F) — 0.4 miles
• Horse Springs Road (4N16A) — 1.1 miles
“The OHV community has been asking for more access in this area and, thanks to a state grant and work with our partners, we have been able to do that,” said Marc Stamer, district ranger for the Mountaintop Ranger District. “I hope returning and new visitors enjoy these new additions and the ability to stay at two campgrounds.”
The road re-designation allows registered OHV vehicles on Coxey Road between Big Pine Flats Family Campground and Horse Springs Campground. The campground roads have also been redesignated. Previously, only highway-licensed vehicles were able to access these roads that are now mixed-used.
The addition of Coxey Road allows riders to create looped routes with existing OHV roads and motorized trails. Campground access will allow riders to OHV camp with amenities. Both are available on a first-come basis. Horse Springs is open year-round while Big Pines Flats opens April 24.
The types of OHV vehicles now allowed on these roads will require a green or red sticker registration, which is “similar to highway registration
except it allows California residents to operate their OHV off-highway on lands that are open and accessible to the public for OHV recreation,” according to California State Parks. Red stickers are restricted to riding
seasons regulated by the California Air Resources Board. Riders need to ensure they are following Forest Service restrictions and laws regarding spark arresters, helmets, noise and more, which are all listed on the National Forest Service OHV webpage at www.fs.usda.gov.
The designation is the first of three phases of new recreation opportunities in the area. In future months, a staging or trailer area will be developed at the intersection of Coxey and Holcomb Valley (3N16) roads. Also, 6.6 miles of new OHV trails will be developed and 25 miles of illegal OHV trails will be restored by Forest partner Southern California Mountains Foundation.
This project was funded by a grant from the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division, which has awarded the Forest $1.3 million over the past six years through grants to support and expand its OHV system. The system now consists of 62 miles of 24- to 50-inch trails and 182 miles of mixed-use OHV roads.