Keeping Bear Valley residents
informed and involved.

The Forest

Our forests are an important feature of Bear Valley.  We need to both keep them healthy, and keep our community protected as much as possible from devastating fires.  The following includes:

Tree Thinning For Forest Health

Bear Valley looks very different today from how it looked 50 or 100 years ago. There are many more trees than there used to be. There are two main reasons for this. First, we took fire out of the ecosystem. Fire occurred naturally in the forest, and the Washo and ranchers also set intentional fires. Tree and underbrush density was much lower, and those fires didn’t “crown out” and destroy vast swathes of the forest. They helped preserve meadows, views, and wetlands.

Second, recent human activity has changed the balance of tree types. Lodgepole pines are opportunistic, and foresters don’t like them. Lodgepoles grow faster than firs, Jeffrey pines, or aspens, and tend to crowd them out if given a chance. Lodgepoles jump into areas of disturbed earth, so the building of roads and homes gives them an edge on other trees. Lodgepoles also suck up more water than other trees. They have greatly accelerated the natural successional evolution in the Sierra where lakes turn into wetlands, then into meadows, then into forest.

What we have now is a forest with far too many trees. Healthy forest in our area should have about 90 trees per acre. So a typical third of an acre lot in Bear Valley should have 30 trees, or even fewer when the area of a home is considered. Trees should be well spaced, with 8 feet or more between tree trunks. The bigger the trees, the farther apart they should be.

The BVRI Board wants to encourage our property owners to reduce tree density to healthier levels. You may remove live trees less than 12 inches in diameter at breast height (DBH) without special approval. For larger trees, you must get approval from the Architectural Review Committee, which will look at density, spacing, and privacy screening, while generally favoring thinning.

Healthy well spaced trees are more likely to survive drought, beetle attacks, or fire. And they’re less likely to fall on your house. Please consider thinning your trees.

 

The BVRI Lot Inspection  Program

Our goal is to create a fire safe environment at Bear Valley. Bear Valley is doing well in terms of forest management, BUT we  all have to keep at this annually;  trees and bushes grow, or die. Forestry and fire prevention people agree that Bear Valley has the best forest management program of any subdivision on Ebbetts Pass, in the spirit of Harry Schimke, one of the founders of Bear Valley and a renowned forester. In the windstorms of 2011-12, Bear Valley had the least structure damage from windfalls of any area from here to Angels Camp, thanks to our having healthier trees. BVRI continues to operate a volunteer inspection program to monitor fire clearance and CC&R compliance.

Lot inspections typically occur in later June or July.  The following is the information we collect about each lot during the summer lot inspection process.   The names of owners whose lots do not pass muster will be given to the Sheriff who will send a letter of warning to the lot owner.

  • Is this a vacant lot?
  • Are all dead trees removed?
  • Are pine needles removed within 5 feet of the home?
  • Is the ground cleared of dead branches?
  • Are dead tree branches cleared up to 6 feet from the ground?
  • For trees taller than 18 feet, are tree branches removed up to 6 feet from the ground?
  • Is the debris (dead trees on ground, anything not natural, etc.) cleared from the lot?
  • Are tree limbs cleared within 10 feet of the chimney?
  • Are the roof and gutters clear of leaves, needles, and dead growth?
  • Is the chimney spark suppressor (cap) in place?
  • If there are problems with this lot and if the lot is not cleaned up in a timely manner, should this lot be forwarded to the Sheriff?
  • Is the house address visible from the street?  (Note it should be visible in summer AND in winter (after the snow piles up)
  • Are Snowmobile(s) & other gear stowed properly?
  • Are any tarps colors other than brown or dark green? (Note: allowable colors are brown and dark green)

For more information and information about where to get help for clearing your lot, see the following document prepared by the BVRI Forest Management Committee:   BVFireInspection 5-30-15

Resources

There are several resources  to help you with your lot clearance including Sean’s Tree Service @ 209-588-9350, Erich Haas @ 209-639-1169, Mike Ratkowski @ 209-795-4366, and Joe Zibley @ 209-753-2492

The Chipping Program

Bear Valley has been lucky in getting state funds to support a chipping program. Here is the form for getting chipping done on your property for the forest clearing that you have done around your homes. Alpine FSC Chipping Packet 2016

 

Bark Beetle in Bear Valley

We encourage you all to read  Bear Valley Insects 2014 to learn about bark beetles in Bear Valley and what to look for and what to do.   This current drought period should cause all of us to increase our vigilance and act quickly to remove dead trees. If you have a dead tree(s) or logs on your lot, be sure to have them removed as soon as possible. The health and beauty of our local forest ecosystem could easily be devastated by either a fire or a full-scale bark beetle infestation. BVRI inspects each lot annually, but residents need to act on their own to remove trees without waiting to be reminded. 

At the end of the document there is contact information for the author, Ross Richards-Professional Forrester.

Getting Rid of  Bark Beetles: PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION TO REMOVE DEAD TREES AND LOGS ON YOUR PROPERTY.   Any  tree with bark beetle must be cut into rounds and stacked in the sun. Then the stack must be covered with clear plastic. The bottom of the plastic must be covered with dirt so nothing gets out. This will encapsulate the beetles and kill them. If you get the logs hauled away, the ground still needs to be treated.

Common Area Forest Management Map

Bear Valley received a grant to help with our forest fuel reduction. The map here shows the priorities for fuel reduction for the various Bear Valley Common Areas.

BV Common Area Fuels Reduction Project

Next BVRI Board Meeting:

Date: February 24, 2018

Time: 4:00pm

Location: Perry Walther Building

Upcoming Events

FREE Yoga  Mondays and Wednesdays 12:00-1:30  in the library.  Taught by Patty Miles.  Mats, straps etc. provided if you don’t have your own.

Sites to check to see what’s happening in Bear Valley.  Other events will be posted below.

Bear Valley Mountain Resort events for winter and summer. Look under Activities.

Mountain and village dining schedule posted by Bear Valley Mountain Resort  for winter and summer. Look under Explore.

Bear Valley Business Association sponsored events.

Bear Valley Summer Music Festival schedule.

BV Tennis Club activities and summer camp information.