Big Bear Lake's Moonridge Zoo - Animal Park Relocation


Big Bear Lake, Calif.--Up in the hills at around 6,700 foot elevation, just out of reach of the Los Angeles freeways lies another world filled with wild animals, forests and mountains. Nature isn't always kind, however, as these animals get injured on occasion and need help.


San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recently approved the purchase of 10.46 acres at the corner of Moonridge Road and Clubview Drive for the Moonridge Animal Park, which was slated for permanent closure if a new "friend" didn't step forward to provide land for the injured animals the zoo has taken in over the years.
Three parcels north of the Bear Mountain Golf Course near the current zoo site are likely to become the new nesting grounds for a few injured birds, some fox, bear, wolves, bobcats, and any other such injured critters that roam the local mountains and are brought to facility to be lovingly cared for.

Robert Gumbiner Foundation said they are willing to sell new parcels to the park district for slightly more than $2 million, and funds for the acquisition mostly will come from Proposition 40 State Parks funds. The Moonridge Animal Park at the corner of Moonridge Road and Goldmine Drive paid lease $1 per year for its lease, which expired recently. Then the rate shot up to $5,650 a month for the next three years, and the zoo felt it couldn't pay that kind of fee. During the winter months the facility is shrouded in a blanket of snow and tourist visits simply don't support the lease and upkeep.

With around 150 permanent resident creatures--birds and animals that cannot be released because of injuries or domestication--and another 200 injured animals annually, Debbie Richardson, Friends of Moonridge Zoo and park staff were hopeful about this new development which will save the park from extinction.

In Bear Mountain style, a small tee off area of the public golf course may be on the lands being purchased for the zoo. The encroachment apparently happened about 30 years ago when an area was fenced for horses but a portion of the land on the golf course side of the fence remained in question. Now the golf course management is hoping their 9 hole course which is open only during non-snow season doesn't get shortened.




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