Interested in providing support for the preserve?
The Bear Valley Springs community has developed this new historical site respectfully, while enhancing its educational value. The Preserve is maintained by the Bear Valley Springs Association. In addition, the Kawaiisu Preserve Fund managed by the Bear Valley Springs Community Recreational Facilities Foundation (BVSCRFF) can accept contributions earmarked for Preserve improvements.
Please note that all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and should be directed to:
Bear Valley Springs Community Recreational Facilities Foundation (BVSCRFF)
29541 Rolling Oak Drive
661-821-5537, ext. 231
The Kawaiisu people, or Nüwa, were the first human residents of Bear Valley — arriving perhaps several thousand years ago — and their descendants continue to live and thrive in in Bear Valley, Tehachapi, and Kern County today. Local professional archaeologists and anthropologists, including BVS residents David and Tamara Whitley, have confirmed the significance of this ancient community gathering site in Bear Valley. It is thought that the Native Americans indigenous to the area were not just "passing through" for a few days at certain times of the year, but were seasonal residents, likely migrating to warmer climes in the winter. The Bear Valley Springs Historical Kawaiisu Preserve is now a site that is educationally and spiritually in keeping with the unique culture of the people who resided here so long ago, and continue to be our neighbors and friends today.
The ancestral presence is most obviously recorded by numerous "grinding holes," called “pa-haz” by the Kawaiisu. These depressions carved into solid granite were used with rock pestles to grind acorns and other plant and animal materials as a major food source for the Kawaiisu community. A large array of these enduring cultural and historical features are on display in an authentic natural setting at the BVS Historical Kawaiisu Preserve.
The Preserve is available for exploration, meditation, and education. Further information about the culture and history of the Kawaiisu can be found at the Tehachapi Heritage League Museum, 310 S. Green Street, Tehachapi, 661-822-8152.
The Bear Valley Springs Historical Kawaiisu Preserve is located on the corner of Stirrup Way and Sunset Way, near Jacaranda Drive.
From the Bear Valley Springs Gate, stay on Bear Valley Road until you get to the town center; take a right at Jacaranda Drive. Continue on Jacaranda until you arrive at Stirrup Way; turn left. The Preserve parking area is a short distance, just past Sunset Way on your left.
• A Kiosk at the parking area that pictures trails and locations of various points of interest, as well as rules of the Preserve
• A series of Interpretive Signs along the loop trail that provides interesting information and photographic images to enhance visitors’ knowledge of the Kawaiisu people and their culture
• Granite benches in a peaceful setting that offer visitors respite, while enhancing the meditative nature and beauty of the preserve
• A picnic area that allows families to relax in the serene environment of the Preserve
• Views extending from the Southern Sierra in the east, to Bear Valley and the Tehachapi Mountains in the south, to the San Joaquin Valley in the West