IE mountain residents bracing for influx of visitors ahead of Fourth of July weekend

San Bernardino mountain residents are concerned that the recent closure of local beaches because of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in scores of tourists heading up to their neighborhoods.
LYTLE CREEK, Calif. (KABC) -- San Bernardino mountain residents are concerned that the recent closure of local beaches because of the COVID-19 pandemic could result in scores of tourists heading up to their neighborhoods on Independence Day weekend.

On the Thursday before the Fourth of July, the roads to the mountain community of Lytle Creek were already jammed with cars, the swimming areas already filled with people.

"It's like the wild west," said Lytle Creek resident Frank Legett. "It'll take us an hour to get down the hill because people are parked along the creek. And not only that, but they stop in the street, too."

Some Lytle Creek residents have placed their own signs on roads to discourage parking in their neighborhoods. The U.S. Forest Service says extra crews will be on patrol during the holiday weekend enforcing parking restrictions.

"We're towing 20 to 30 vehicles a weekend to make sure emergency access is maintained," said Forest Service spokesperson Zach Behrens.

But while some mountain residents might not want visitors flooding their neighborhoods during the middle of a pandemic, the San Bernardino National Forest is open to visitors. Forest service campgrounds are restricted to members of the same family.

San Bernardino County Second District Supervisor Janice Rutherford hopes mountain visitors this weekend either plan to come up early in the day when they can find parking, or don't come up at all.

"If people arrive early, find legal parking, don't bring fireworks or barbeques, maintain social distancing, wear their masks, staying away from other people, that's great," said Rutherford. "But we have fewer capacity for people wanting to do that."

Both Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake have postponed their Independence Day fireworks displays after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered some businesses to close because of a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
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