For more than 100 years, special districts have provided a multitude of essential services that enhance the life of Californians — services like water and energy, fire protection, wastewater treatment, land preservation, garbage removal and much more. Today, the California Special Districts Association released a new episode in a video series that aims at increasing understanding and awareness of California’s special districts.

The latest video installment shows viewers how special districts provide essential community services by highlighting the Big Bear Airport District. Big Bear is 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles and nestled high in the San Bernardino Mountain Range making it a popular year-round tourist destination.

With altitudes ranging from 6,750 to 9,000 feet, regions like Big Bear can be difficult to get to by car — especially for emergency personnel. The Big Bear Airport District works in partnership with local organizations to ensure the safety of the area’s 21,000 permanent residents.

“The Big Bear Airport District is committed to serving our residents and visitors in times of crisis when access to our mountain community can be precarious,” said Dustin Leno, general manager of Big Bear Airport District. “The airport represents the very best option to our community for transportation, logistics and aid during an emergency. Medical support, firefighting activities and law enforcement are all examples of missions that the airport has been designed to support on a routine basis.”

In addition to providing emergency service support, the Big Bear Airport District also serves as an economic driver for the surrounding resort communities by bringing visitors to the area to shop, play and vacation. At peak seasons, tourist populations in Big Bear can regularly surge over 100,000.

“The Big Bear Airport District’s goal is to be an economic engine and catalyst for the community,” Leno said. “Our concerted efforts to increase both business opportunities and traffic growth will benefit the surrounding area with jobs and economic vitality for years to come.”

This video is one in a series of videos created by Districts Make the Difference, the public outreach campaign run by the California Special Districts Association. To view the Big Bear Airport District video or to learn more about all special districts, visit