A family hikes along a trail through the mountains at Big Bear in the Spring

Being An Eco-Ally in Big Bear Lake

Posted: 03/15/23

Whether you're in your home town or traveling abroad, your presence makes a difference. The question is, is it a positive or negative difference?

Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people. Ecotourism has a positive impact on both natural areas and the local community. The International Ecotourism Society
A family of three hikes along a forest trail in Big Bear Lake. Snow capped peaks show in the distance.

Big Bear Lake ecotourism not only connects our visitors with nature but also bring awareness about the impacts humans have on the natural environment. So how can you become an eco-ally on your next visit to Big Bear?

Principles of Ecotourism

  • Minimize impact - Stay on designated trails and do not leave trash along routes. Take initiative and pick up any trash you find along your route.
  • Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect - Give wildlife their space. Do not collect or remove plants, animals, rocks, logs, etc.
  • Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts - Be courteous to others you encounter. Keep dogs on a leash at all times.
  • Provide direct financial benefits for conservation - Read further for donation opportunities.
  • Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people - Buy and support local 'Mom & Pop' shops.
  • Raise sensitivity to host area’s political, environmental, and social climate - Our world is composed of unique people from all walks of life.
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne Frank

Ecotourism Activities

  • Head to the Visitor Center for trail maps and brochures on recreation areas in Big Bear Lake. Top Trails like Woodland Interpretive Trail and Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail have brochures about their environment and history.
  • The Alpine Pedal Path includes signage along the paved route with information on Big Bear's geography, wildlife, and more.
  • Conservation areas like Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve and The Stanfield Marsh Wildlife & Waterfowl Preserve offer education on Big Bear's diverse ecosystems and what it takes to sustain them.
  • Gold Fever Trail in Holcomb Valley highlights the rich gold mining history of Big Bear.
A white wolf stares into the camera from its enclosure at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.

Ecotourism Organizations

Big Bear Alpine Zoo - Our Zoo is an amazing ambassador for wildlife conservation in the valley. As a rehabilitation center for sick and injured wildlife, the Zoo returns a majority of their animal patients to their natural environment. The animals that cannot be released remain at the facility as permanent residents. Successful wildlife conservation is a community wide effort. The Zoo reminds everyone to:

  • NEVER feed wildlife!
  • Don't be too quick to 'rescue' an orphaned animal; often the mother is out foraging for food. Hand raising any wild animal deprives it of learning important behaviors from it's mother and siblings.

Southern California Mountains Foundation - The Mountains Foundation is a non-profit supporting conservation initiatives and services focused on outdoor recreation and stewardship of our environment. Explore the Discovery Center and join in free activities each weekend.

Big Bear Valley Ecotourism Coalition - This project is supported by organizations, agencies, and local citizens who have come together to encourage and promote ecotourism in the Valley. The Coalition assembles information on local habitats, ecotourism activities, tours, events, recreation, and sustainably run local businesses.

Donate! - Support ongoing conservation efforts in the Valley.

Related Partners