Russell L. Keller
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Big Bear is known throughout the southland of California as an outdoor recreational destination. Located high atop the San Bernardino Mountains, the area was once home to the Yuhaviatam Indians, the "People of the Pines." In 1845, a party lead by Benjamin Davis Wilson, the grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton, entered the valley and discovered the area alive with grizzly bears, giving the valley its name. A dam, completed in 1884, created Big Bear Lake, which provided water to citrus growers in the area of Redlands and later lead to the water-related recreations, camps, resorts, and the welcoming community that Big Bear is famous for today.