The Forest Service must approve any additions or expansions to your cabin, and any other changes made to the exterior of your cabin, such as repainting and/or replacement of roof, siding, decks, windows, doors, water tanks, etc. Follow this link to the official Forest Service "Form for Proposed Cabin Improvements", which must be submitted to the Big Bear Forest Service Special Uses Administrator for approval. This proposal process was described last year in a letter from the FS dated September 24, 2012, which was sent to all cabin permit holders. According to that letter, the deadline for any proposed 2013 projects was November 30, 2012. Consequently, if you did not submit your 2013 proposal by that date and received approval, you are not authorized to make any exterior changes to your cabin in 2013.
In the first year (2012) of the formal request requirement, 60 improvement requests were received for projects ranging from painting to huge remodels. The majority of approval letters were mailed by April 1, though a few are awaiting final sign-offs. The major reason for delays in processing requests was lack of sufficient information about the work to be done. The FS feels that this new process has been a success, but would like feedback from cabin owners. Please send your comments to your Special Uses Administrator, Katie Nelson (KLNelson@fs.fed.us).
According to a more recent FS letter to cabin owners dated May 13, 2013, you may submit your proposals now for projects you wish to do in 2014. The deadline for submitting your 2014 proposals is August 30, 2013. However, apparently, none of these proposals will be considered until after August 30, and approval/denial letters will be sent out by April 1, 2014. Please read the May 13, 2013 letter for more details.
If you have questions, the Forest Service will be holding an Open House on Saturday, July 27, 2013 at the Big Bear Discovery Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This Open House will be an opportunity for cabin owners to discuss their proposal for cabin improvements, or to discuss any other Forest Service questions or issues they may have. If you are interested, please mark this date on your calendar.
Note: If you have more questions about the Forest Service Recreation Residences program, please visit this Forest Service website for a comprehensive discussion and relevant forms: