Historic Preservation Requirements

Historic Big Bear Hotel
Historic Big Bear Hotel

Following up on a suggestion at the November 2012 San Bernardino National Forest Cabin Coalition (SBNFCC) meeting, an invitation was extended to Pam Daly to attend the May 2013 SBNFCC meeting and discuss the role of architectural historians in approval of cabin improvements.

The National Historic Preservation Act requires that the Forest Service identify structures of historic significance and ensure that historical status is maintained in any improvements or alterations. While several residence tracts have been surveyed for their historical significance, only a few tracts on our Forest have completed the entire documentation and reporting process [Polique Canyon, Southwest Shore, and Stetson Creek for sure]. All other tracts must be managed as if they were historic.

On any request affecting the exterior of a cabin or addition over 9 sq ft, the Forest Service will most likely request that an architectural historian be consulted to ensure that preservation requirements are being met. Pam Daly is one such Architectural Historian, who is engaged by the cabin owner to consult on the planned improvements to ensure that they satisfy Forest Service requirements as well as those specified in the NHPA. The cost of such a consultant can be from $300 to over $1,000, depending on the complexity of the project. Two primary resources for historical preservation guidance that Pam identified are:

These historic preservation issues are particularly important to Southwest Shore cabin owners, since the Southwest Shore has been designated as both a state and federal historic district.  Whenever you are contemplating making any changes to your cabin exterior, remember that you need Forest Service approval for such changes, and that you must consider the impact of the changes on the historic nature of your cabin.  You should also consult the Southwest Shore Colony Operating Plan and Architecture Appearance Standards.

If you have questions about historic preservation requirements, please contact the FS Special Uses Administrator, Katie Nelson, either by phone (909-382-2812) or by email (KLNelson@fs.fed.us).