San Bernardino National Forest Researchers


San Bernardino National Forest Researchers

Compare notes on research projects being carried out on the SBNF

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Latest Activity: Jun 5, 2017

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Comment by Katherine Glover on June 5, 2017 at 9:42am

Hi all,

I know this page (and myself) have been quiet for a bit, but we have a paper out on Baldwin Lake from the core UCLA recovered in 2012! Our aims were to establish the age of the new sequence (found to be about 125,000 ± 10,000 years old), and run new physical, geochemical, and biologic analysis on the core. The record has a striking resemblance to summer solar radiation variations in Southern California over time, and intriguing evidence that big climate reversals that happened in Greenland between 60,000 to 25,000 years ago also affected Southern California.

Elsevier has provided free access to the paper until end of June here (sometimes I have to load it twice to get the open access option):

For longer posterity, one of the authors, Matthew Kirby (who previously worked at Baldwin Lake) has made the paper available at ResearchGate: 

Comment by Katherine Glover on January 8, 2015 at 7:28pm

Thanks so much for the quick reply; this is very interesting and I figured knowledge about the Serrano tribe would not be as easy-to-find as other paleoclimate papers I tend to search for and read. The closest thing I'd found about occupation evidence in the Big Bear / Baldwin area was this L.A. Times article:

The mention of hearths and material that could be radiocarbon-dated was intriguing. Sounds like, from your post, there is some data that's been collected. 

Basically what we've found from a charcoal analysis of Big Bear Lake is that fire was active in the area about 8-9 thousand years ago...then quiescent for thousands of years (this fits a pattern for most of SoCal for widespread, long-term drought about this time). Then, 2000 years ago, charcoal deposition really picks up, suggesting a lot more wildfires in the region. There's some variation, but overwhelmingly the last 2000 years stands out from the whole 10,000 year record. So, I'm wondering if there's a human component to the increase in wildfire, or if it's natural processes, or some combination of the two.

Comment by Gina Griffith on January 8, 2015 at 11:57am

Regarding knowledge of local Serrano tribes and the use of Big Bear area in the past, we have basically three sources.  We have ethnographic notes dating to 1918: J.P Harrington took a couple of Serrano Indians from San Manuel into the mountains and recorded what they had to say about different places.  They recorded place names, what resources were used, and which lineages "took care of" the area.  They didn't spend months doing this - probably only a week  or two, so some areas of the Mountains are better described than others.  Also not all of lineages were equally well represented.  We have some additional ethnographic information from some other authors: Strong, Hooper and Bean, so I'll try to put together a bibliography.

Also, we have some archaeological data from within the forest.  Most importantly, we have Daniel McCarthy's excavation of a site near Big Big Bear Lake.  He has carbon dates over at least the last 2000 years.   

We also have data from the areas surrounding the mountains.  This always seems of interest because we think that when the deserts were drier, people came into the mountains.  Based on technological changes we have developed several periods of occupation, from Archaic to Late prehistoric. But, archaeologists are not experts in climate changes so our notions about movements based on climate maybe could use some work!  John Goodman has been working on summarizing this so I'll invite him to this page as well.  In addition, we've started working on the north slope of the San Bernardinos, so I'll add what I've summarized is already known for that area.

Comment by Gina Griffith on January 8, 2015 at 11:33am

Hi Katherine! 

I'm so glad you posted!  There are some folks that I should invite to this page,  I've been away for a while too.  I knew it would go pretty slowly though, we don't get that many requests to do research on the forest - I wish that we did!  But we heard recently from Trudy Hernandez who would like to work on developing research facilities near Big Bear Lake, by rehabilitating the Damkeepers's Cabin.  I thought the folks at Fullerton, or you folks from UCLA might have a wishlist for what you would like to see as local facilities.  Maybe that would help her develop a plan for rehabilitation. I'll go ahead and invite her to this page.

Comment by Katherine Glover on January 8, 2015 at 11:13am

Hi all,

Thought I'd check out this space again and post an update. I'm a UCLA grad student studying landscape change in the Big Bear Valley over the past 100,000 years. Most of the evidence we have is from a lake core we took at Baldwin Lake in 2012. I'm also working on material from a lake core taken in Big Bear Lake in 2004 or '05 with researchers from CSU-Fullerton.

We have worked up a history of wildfire in the area from both cores and have some interesting results. The last 2000 years is very active for fire in the region. I'm interested in what sort of resources / knowledge exists about the Seranno tribe in the region during that time period, if folks have any insight.  

Comment by Gina Griffith on May 7, 2013 at 9:25pm

Haven't even gotten around to introducing myself - and I guess I should since I'm on this group!

And I am interested in research on the SBNF, even if it wasn't something I did for a degree. 

I'm employed as an archaeogist, even though I ended up with a Masters in Art History and Conservation.  There's archaeology in the doctorate I'm working on. 

On the SBNF, I'm interested in changes to the landscape, particularly due to humans.


I've been working on the latest periods of history, the Forest Service Periods, but I'm a lithicist and interested in working Native American sites more, both ethnohistoric and archaic.


Comment by Gina Griffith on May 7, 2013 at 6:26pm

It came to me the other day that it would be a good idea to have some place for people wishing to do research on the SBNF to have a place too meet, and exchange info.  What didn't actually come to mind was how to set up the group page, so I'm leaving it as open as possible, with hopes that we can all shape it into something useful. 


Comment by Gina Griffith on May 7, 2013 at 5:39pm

Hi Erica!  I hope you will do some research on us!


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