While the nation had pushed to the western coast, the land the Fickert family settled in 1869 was still isolated and remote...a rich, virtually hidden valley, now known as Bear Valley Springs. For centuries, it had been the untamed realm of the American Indian. Over the years, after purchasing squatter's rights to 160 acres, the Fickerts expanded their holdings until, by the 1900's their ranch encompassed a vast region, approximately 25,000 acres.
By 1959, the last of the immediate Fickert family were gone, joining their kin who had gone before in the tiny family cemetery just up the hill from the main house. A quiet rural dynasty was ended. After long negotiations Dart Resorts purchased the ranch, in its entirety, from the Fickert heirs. An outstanding ecological organization, Resource Ecology Associates, was employed by Dart to plan and maintain the original natural value of the property, including wildlife. Bear Valley Springs was born.
The first sales of property were in late 1970 with a full sales team starting January 1971. The project was sold out in November 1977. The Bear Valley Springs Community Services District was formed to act as a nonprofit organization for management and maintenance of the water, roads, and police protection. At the same time, the Bear Valley Springs Property Owners Association was formed to administer the amenity package. These groups acted to insure the upkeep of the facilities of Bear Valley Springs. Many projects in California have taken on one or the other. Bear Valley Springs has taken on both entities to protect the stability of the project.
The original concept was a second home destination resort where families could come to spend a weekend or longer and have a complete amenities package. As the uniqueness of Bear Valley Springs became apparent, many families moved here permanently, some retired and some to raise their families. The concept slowly changed from second homes to full time residents. In these changing, clamorous times, the historic legacy of the Fickert family lives on.