OUTDOORS + RECREATION

Bear Lake State Park is opening new areas to keep up with growth

Apr 4, 2024, 7:04 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2024, 9:43 am

Bear lake growth...

The North Beach gate in Bear Lake, Idaho. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

(Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

GARDEN CITY – State park managers for Bear Lake are preparing for the crowds that continue to grow every year with new land.

Andrew Stokes, the manager of Bear Lake State Park on the Idaho side, said the park started a reservation system in 2022 because of the increase in visitors.

“One of the toughest parts about this job is turning those families away that want to come to play at the beach,” Stokes said.

He said the system has been working for the park, but the crowds at the North Beach keep growing, and the park needs a new plan.

“Year after year, an increase in visitation. Our goal as a state park agency here in Bear Lake is to try to disperse some of that,” Stokes said.

According to Stokes, the new plan for the park is to extend the beach with 28 acres of land just east of Highway 89, which was recently purchased for $2.5 million. This is part of an Idaho initiative to keep up with the state’s growth in outdoor recreation.

“In general, recreation across the state of Idaho has increased,” Stokes said.

With about 1,200 feet of beach, Stokes said it promises to bring more day-use space and more campgrounds, among other improvements that could start in three to five years.

Meanwhile, the Utah side is also seeing similar growth, according to Richard Droesbeke, the park manager for Utah’s Bear Lake State Park.

“Bear Lake is a big place. And we have ways that, and areas within the park that we’re spreading people out,” Droesbeke said.

Continue reading at ksltv.com.

Related reading: If you save it, they will come: How recreation and tourism are already surging at the Great Salt Lake

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Bear Lake State Park is opening new areas to keep up with growth