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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2019 9:00 am

The county-approved SkyPark campground will welcome visitors starting this fall. 

In an exclusive interview with Bill Johnson, owner of SkyPark at Santa’s Village, we stepped foot onto the campground site for a tour.

Unlike other campgrounds in the Lake Arrowhead communities offered through the U.S. Forest Service, the SkyPark Campground will open all year long, featuring 70 full-hookup campsites which include water, 50 amp electricity, sewer disposal and a dump station.

The campground is located across Highway 18 from SkyPark, featuring a downslope terrace setting with an amazing view.

“Camping is a quintessential mountain activity, and it’s a perfect complement to all the other fun outdoor activities SkyPark has to offer,” said County Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

Each site has a concrete pad and will be landscaped mirroring the existing landscaping at SkyPark featuring native plants and trees.

“The campground will have seven family restrooms equipped with changing rooms, hot shower, flush toilets and vanity area,” said Johnson. “We are also permitted to have a non-combustible firepit.”

With the campground situated away and below the highway, it reduces the traffic noise greatly.

“Each campsite is 40’ in depth. It is built to accept big RVs to tent camping,” Johnson said. “The opening date will be released once we complete the construction process and obtain the Certificate of Occupancy.”

The opening date depends on the final sign off from both the county and Caltrans.

“SkyPark ticket holders and annual pass holders may make reservations for the new campground,” Johnson explained.

The campground development calls for additional major construction related to adding a traffic signal and a crosswalk on Highway 18. 

Caltrans originally approved the felling of 138 trees along the highway but Johnson had Caltrans reinspect the site and managed to cut the number by half. Hence, only 69 trees were removed.

“We will be replanting and do landscaping when this phase is completed,” Johnson said.

“The County mandate of the traffic signal is projected to be completed by February with the addition of a left-hand turn lane into SkyPark coming eastbound,” Johnson added. “The right turn lane will lead to the campground across from SkyPark. Ultimately, these additional turn lanes will allow ongoing traffic on Highway 18 to avoid potential stops at the entrances.

“There is a 20,000-gallon water tank, and we have a fire protection plan in place and emergency accessible fire hydrant in the campground with two water taps for filling fire trucks and helicopters in case of emergency,” Johnson added.

There is a helipad and two helicopter parking spaces available for San Bernardino Sheriff and San Bernardino Fire in case of an emergency.

It is Johnson’s goal to make the hillside campground a destination for other activities.

“We want to host an RC Glider event and be a world-class venue,” said Johnson, who said the air current along the campground is ideal for such remote-control gliders.

One major requirement related to the campground development came from the Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP) where rainwater is directed to special water chambers.

“The campground will have three water basins, which are required by the WQMP — requiring us to catch all the rainwater and put into detention water chambers,” Johnson explained. The water then will percolate into the ground.”

“The construction of the campground is scheduled to be completed this Fall,” Johnson said.

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