The San Bernardino National Forest Association (SBNFA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation formed in 1994 and committed to the success of the San Bernardino National Forest as it works to fulfill its mission of “Caring for the Land and Serving People”. The Association will complement and add to the skills and resources of the Forest, involve other partners -- individuals, community groups, corporations, foundations, other government agencies, and nonprofits -- and foster citizen involvement in Forest planning and decision making. The SBNFA seeks to accomplish its purpose by bringing volunteer and financial resources to the Forest. Today, the SBNFA is a national model for how public lands managers and private organizations can partner for the benefit of everyone.
The SBNFA is most visible through the volunteer programs it manages. In 2000, over 775 volunteers contributed 48,265 hours toward caring for the Forest. The goal of all SBNFA programs can be summed up on one statement:
To ensure that every visitor becomes a responsible steward of the Forest.
More and more, SBNFA-managed volunteers are becoming the public interface to the Forest Service. We estimate that SBNFA staff and volunteers make over 250,000 contacts per year, each offering an opportunity to educate.
Many recreation and education programs would not exist without the SBNFA. The programs the SBNFA manages are:
· Children’s Forest – nearly 10,000 school-aged children participate in learning programs with their class, youth group, or family.
· Fire Lookout Hosts – six fire lookouts in the SBNF and two in the Angeles are opened, maintained, and staffed by volunteers to serve the public as information centers and to supplement fire prevention/suppression resources.
· Big Bear Discovery Center – this visitor information and environmental education center hosts over 170,000 visitors per year.
· Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Volunteers – this group has become the “eyes & ears” for the Forest Service, logging nearly 20,000 miles of patrols promoting responsible OHV recreation. The group also maintains many roads, trails, and recreation areas with road repair, trash removal, extinguishing illegal campfires, and assisting lost and stranded visitors.
· Fire Education Outreach - promotes understanding of fire and its role in the forest ecology— from forest renewal to a virtual experience of the ferocity of a real forest fire. These volunteers also assist during major wildfire incidents in and around the Forest by answering fire information phone lines.Only about 20% of the SBNFA’s income comes from the Forest Service, much of that derived from Adventure Pass funds. Like all nonprofits, the SBNFA is dependent on grants, donations, fundraisers, and membership to support its operations. The OHV Program is looking for primary sponsors. The Association also generates revenue through its retail operation and fees for tours and programs at the Discovery Center and Children’s Forest.