Relief is finally arriving for some snow-stranded residents in San Bernardino County Mountain communities as crews work to clear roads that have been closed for more than a week, but many residents remain frustrated, wondering why it took so long for help to come.
Caltrans has been working to make roads passable, including Highways 18, 330 and 189, which are now open without a police escort, but only to residents.
This means people like Matt Moore, from Crestline, are finally able to get home.
“I am so grateful they finally opened up to residents,” Moore told KTLA. “You know, the stress of many days coming up here and them going, ‘Okay, well, we don’t have any escorts today, so turn around.’”
Others already up the mountain are just now getting out of their homes for the first time.
“This is the first day we’ve been able to get out of our house and we actually dug ourselves out,” Sharon Moore, a resident of Crestline, said. “We’ve had no one come to plow.”
Goodwin and Son’s Market, which has been closed since the roof collapsed under the weight of snow, has been donating what’s left of its food.
Volunteers and local churches have been pitching in, as well as the county and the national guard. The only way to get to some distribution centers is to walk, with many walking for hours to get supplies.
Max Strawn is with a group called Mountain Area Mutual Aid.
“I grabbed five or six bags of groceries out of my own pantry, set up a table and some pop-ups and told people, ‘Hey, everyone’s got a little bit from their pantry that they can help donate and everyone needs something now too. So, bring what you can and take what you need,’” Strawn explained.
There are also others working to deliver supplies to those who aren’t able to make the trek to distribution centers.
“…and so, we’ve got addresses and we’ve got names and we’re getting food out to people,” Doug Spence with Sandal’s Church said.
While more than half of all roads in the area are now clear, many people say there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in more residential areas.
“We feel blessed,” Moore said. “We have a lot of help and we’re appreciative of the help, but we need more.”
In order to get into San Bernardino County Mountain communities, people must show proof of residency, like a utility bill in order to drive up the mountain. Crews are also checking IDs.
However, with many of the roads back open to residents, people are hopeful it will provide the flexibility to bring up necessary supplies and take things like trash back down.