Snowplay crowds are nothing new to Big Pines recreation area
By Terri Hill
This week Big Pines Visitor Information Services announced it will reopen Thursday. Closed for the last five years, Big Pines has undergone some restoration, and will be staffed several days per week. Big Pines Ranger Station (Visitor Services) was built in the early 1920s as the community house for the recreation camp, overseen at the time by Los Angeles County.
Records, posted on the Wrightwood Forum, for the 1928 – 1929 season reflect 8,000 to 10,000 visitors to Big Pines on an average Sunday with good snow. Road congestion and parking issues, when snow players drive up the mountain, are nothing new to the Wrightwood and Big Pines area. In a Los Angeles Times article from August 10, 1924, also posted on the Forum, camp Super Intendant and builder Fred Wadsworth explained they left the camp clear of construction debris to remind campers of the motto, “Keep Our Forests Clean.” Even then, visitors needed reminding of seemingly common sense good behavior.
This season has already brought measurable snow to Wrightwood, and with the relief of the much-needed snowpack, comes the onslaught of traffic, congestion, and often, bad manners. During this year’s Christmas and New Year weekends, social and broadcast media were rampant with film, photos, and stories of snowplayers parking illegally, trespassing on private property, and leaving tons of garbage in their wake when they left. It is an issue the Big Pine’s Visitor Center is keeping on the front pages of social media currently.
Over the MLK Holiday weekend, the Visitor Center’s Facebook page* reported many of the same concerns as were found on group pages from Wrightwood and the High Desert. Pictures showed hundreds of broken sleds, countless dirty diapers, forgotten boots, gloves, and other articles of clothing, and all manner of food trash littering the Big Pines area and its access roads. The Forest Service issued pleas to the visiting public to come enjoy the snow and recreation opportunities, but to also follow the rules; pack out what you pack in, and park only in designated areas, or behind the fog lines when stopping along the road.
On Sunday the Big Pines Ranger Station, Angeles National Forest* Facebook page warned against setting up illegal food stands on the side of the road, as several had had been issued citations along N4 and Highway 2. Monday morning’s post shocked the page’s followers; a photograph showed the inside of one of the public restrooms within the recreation area. The toilet had been removed and taken away by vandals. The post read, “Although the toilets were paid for by your tax dollars, they are not to be taken home as your own.”
Mountain Hardware employees have been out on their annual clean-up runs along Hwy. 2 and Big Pines, as have the inmate crews, and a number of volunteer groups and individuals throughout the community. As the National Weather Service predicts a slew of storms over the next several days, weekends through the remainder of the winter will likely bring more of the same from snowplay traffic, leaving the Forest Service, and residents of Wrightwood, to the odious task of clean up.
*Page not moderated by USFS
Walking School Bus Programs Take Off
by Vicky Rinek
Parents are finding the Walking School Bus a safe, fun and more convenient option for delivering their young students to school each day. The Walking School Bus Program encourages students to use their own two feet, by creating safe, adult-led walking routes to school.
It’s a great way to start the school day. The goals are to encourage use of alternative transportation, to promote healthy lifestyles and to encourage kids to get outside. Kids gather at various neighborhood street intersections and walk the .9-mile trail to Wrightwood Elementary School, assisted by volunteer route monitors. Kids received incentives:
• They collect a raffle ticket each time they walk.
• They are treated to hot cocoa and a sweet treat.
• They are treated to a pizza party in January, February, March, April and May.
They also earn $1 each time they walk, which goes toward a scholarship that is saved until they graduate from high school (which could amount to as much as $1000 over the years in elementary school).
There are three routes to walk to school through Wrightwood:
1. Edna bus route starts at Conifer/Oriole roads at 7:25, stop at Lark/Edna 7:35, stop at Edna/Mountain View 7:40, stop at Edna/Acorn 7:45, stop at Edna/Spruce 7:50, arrive at school 7:55
2. Mountain View (MV) bus route starts at MV/Lucerne at 7:30, stops at MV/Conifer 7:35, stops at MV/Evergreen 7:40, stops at Acorn/Evergreen 7:45, arrives at school 7:50
3. Village Trail bus route (VT) starts at VT/Victorville 7:25, stops at VT/LPC 7:30, stops at VT/Walnut 7:35, stops at VT/Elm 7:40, stops at Willow/Betty 7:45, stops at Cedar/Laura 7:50 arrives at school 7:55.
This free service is funded through a 501c3 group, One Town Inc., local businesses, and the parents of Wrightwood Elementary School students. It’s easy to sign up – just meet at one of the bus routes and a volunteer will take all your information, or visit the school to sign up. Volunteers keep a record of each student they walk with and turn in the forms to the school.
Walking School Bus Program needs volunteers.
A walking bus is a fun, healthy, safe and sustainable way of travelling to school. Powered by legwork, the children and volunteers walk in a group along a set route, picking up ‘passengers’ at specific ‘bus stops’ on their journey to school each morning. Volunteers don’t have to be parents of students at Wrightwood. It’s a great way to get out for that morning walk while helping students get safely to school. The volunteers receive incentives too. Local merchants donated certificates ranging from free coffee to free food.
Volunteers walking two times per week get a free breakfast at the Grizzly. Volunteers can sign up for once a week or five days a week. To sign up, contact Sandra at (760) 265-1611. Visit Wrightwood School Bus webpage: https://wrightwoodwsb.wordpress.com
Health Benefits of Walking School Bus
A recent study of the program showed that participating students increased the amount and intensity of their physical activity, a big step toward stemming rising rates of childhood obesity.
Researchers found that boys and girls who boarded the walking school bus increased their active commuting time by 30% over the study period, compared to their classmates who did not. They also boosted their minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity while their peers who depended on their usual transportation reduced their time spent exercising at this intensity. Parents had a 36% reduction in their motor vehicle commuting, which saves time each day and money at the gas tank in addition to improving traffic and air pollution. (source WebMD)
One Town at a Time
One Town at a Time was founded to solve problems of sustainability on a local, one-town-at-a-time level. They began with Wrightwood, promoting the health, environment, welfare and happiness of people in a community. One Town supports projects in the community.
• Walking School Bus (WSB) promotes good health, a cleaner environment, and reduced traffic around school.
• Community Garden, One Town is able to continue its efforts to support the idea of a self-sustaining community.
• Scholarships and grants, One Town at a Time is to be able to provide assistance and support to individuals and families who are in need within our community.
Don Bartz opened the Snowline Joint Unified School District (SJUSC) Board meeting, during community comments, regarding the District’s water negotiations between Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District (CSD) and Sheep Creek Water Company. Both companies at present service SJUSD offices, Serrano High School, Chaparral High School, and Pinon Mesa Middle School. CSD is heading the negotiations to be sole water provider.
Principal Dan Andrus of Serrano High School gave a presentation regarding the process of developing and furthering new courses at the high school. New courses begin with teachers’ collaboration within departments, principal’s input, and further collaboration with students, parents, community, industry, and school board. Andrus stated that the approval process should begin in October of a school year rather than January. This would allow more time for all groups to contribute to the process and add to skills necessary for students’ success. Course proposals benefiting from this process are Advanced Placement (AP) Science, AP Chemistry, College Preparatory Science, Science Essentials, and AVID Classes. The board wants to encourage teachers to generate new courses and expand on existing ones. Course suggestions from the community and industry are also encouraged.
AP Chemistry is not currently offered but students can still take the AP Chemistry Exam. Student board member from Serrano High School, Matt McHenry, stated that it would be greatly beneficial to have an actual AP Chemistry Class to help him and other students prepare for the exam.
Science Essentials class helps to prepare students for college prep classes. It was suggested that the course work be extended from ninth and tenth grade to an additional 11th grade year. This would help the courses have additional alignment with the California State Standards.
AVID courses are necessary for student preparation for college. According to U. S. News, “AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a college readiness program designed to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in college. The program places special emphasis on growing writing, critical thinking, teamwork, organization and reading skills...(AVID) is usually for B or C students who have shown potential.” It is suggested that AVID classes at Serrano be expanded from two years to four years.
Superintendent Ryan Holman expressed concern about inter-district transfer of students. He stated that we need more documentation and tracking to clarify why students are transferring from SJUSD to other districts. This usually happens during the elementary years. Often students return to Snowline during the middle and high school years. At present, SJUSD had 392 transfers out of district with 500 transferring into the district. To transfer into SJUSD from another district, students need to have a 2.0 grade point average, 90 per cent attendance, and good behavior. Transfers for athletics is not permissible according to California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) regulations.
Board comments began with student school board member, Matt McHenry, stating that Mountain High Ski Resort had a ski night for Serrano students and staff Friday night, January 13th. The Cadet Corps program is moving forward, and spring sport tryouts will begin soon.
Staff retirement incentives are progressing; so far, 41 staff members have made a commitment for the incentive: 23 classified, 15 certificated, and 3 managerial. February 1st is the deadline.
Snowline will have 20 credit-recovery days June 19-30 and July 10-21.
Employment salary schedules for all staff are now publicly available.
Serving Wrightwood, Phelan, Pinon HIlls and West Cajon Valley Since 1961