Big Bear Lake closed for business

Boats won't be dotting the water of Big Bear Lake anytime soon. The MWD took action to keep the lake closed until at least May 1 during the COVID-19 emergency.

Close to 30 people called in April 2 to participate in the Big Bear Municipal Water District board meeting. The influx created technical difficulties with feedback reportedly caused by people utilizing phones and speakers too close together.

Despite the continued problem, the MWD board was able to discuss when to open the lake to vessels. Board member Tom Bradford, who advocated opening the launch ramp a couple of weeks ago, said he researched marinas and launch ramps across the state and found that none were open.

“The entire state is shut down,” Bradford said. “There is no one launching boats. I don’t see us having any change opening until the state order is lifted. We are no different than anybody else.”

Board member Bob Ludecke agreed with Bradford, and asked if the closure would include shoreline fishing. MWD General Manager Mike Stephenson said the MWD does not have the jurisdiction over the entire shoreline and could not make that decision. Stephenson said the district will continue to have limited Lake Patrol out on the lake.

Bradford made a motion to close the lake until the state order is lifted. Ludecke seconded the motion. After several minutes of discussion, Bradford was asked to amend his motion to close the lake and lake surface to vessels until at least  May 1 with the board to revisit the issue at its April 16 meeting.

The board approved the motion by a 5-0 count. Launch ramps and marinas will not open to the public until at least until May 1. Boats of any kind are prohibited from going onto the lake until that time. That order includes hand-carried kayaks, float tubes or canoes.

The shoreline remains accessible for fishing from the shore only.

A second item on the agenda dealing with quagga mussels was postponed until the next meeting because of the continued technical feedback.

Stephenson said the MWD is exploring a move to change meetings to Zoom so that the administrator can mute attendees to prevent feedback. Attendees would still have the ability to speak during public comment.

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