Big Bear Lake's water almost exclusively comes from snow melt from the surrounding mountains!
History of Big Bear Lake
In 1884, the orange growers of Redlands were looking to establish a reservoir for their groves. Big Bear was the perfect place! With the help of Redlands founder, Frank E Brown, the land making up the lakebed was purchased and soon after, they created the first dam, 53 feet high, to satisfy their irrigation needs.
In 1903, the people of Redlands created the Bear Valley Mutual Water Company to manage the lake, dam, and their Big Bear land.
In 1910, a second dam was built 250 feet downstream to a height of 72 feet, as the original dam did not hold enough water for the growing agriculture business in the valley below. At the time the new dam was completed, Big Bear Lake was the world's largest man made lake.
The current dam is over 100 years old and still stands sturdy, serving it's purpose well today.
Click here to see a release of water from the dam in 2011 as the water levels approached full: