Protecting Bear Lake Through Coordination, Cooperation and Education
The Bear Lake Regional Commission has become the organization that deals with managing growth on this unique regional resource, not always directly, but through it’s abilities to traverse multiple state and regional jurisdictions.
About Bear Lake
Bear Lake County, Idaho and Rich County, Utah, 125 miles north of Salt Lake City, are located high in the Rocky Mountains. The two counties, Rich County, located in Northeastern Utah, and Bear Lake County, located in Southeastern Idaho border each other and share the natural resources of Bear Lake, the Bear River, and the Cache National Forest.
The high mountain climate is diverse. Elevations range from a low of 5,900 feet in the northern end along the Bear River in Bear Lake County, to highs of 9,500 feet at Sherman Peak in the Cache National Forest. Temperatures average in the high 80’s (Fahrenheit) during the summer with winter temperatures 32 (degrees in Fahrenheit) or less during the winter months. Precipitation averages of 10 to 12 inches a year are typical of the arid intermountain west. The traditional cattle ranching and agricultural industries, due to the short growing season, are limited to hay and grain crops. But the high altitude and cooler temperatures are responsible for the famous Bear Lake Raspberries and ideal high mountain retreats.
Bear Lake with 110 miles of surface area and pristine water quality is a mecca for water sports. Activities include sail boating, swimming, skiing, and scuba diving. Resorts in the area provide access to golfing and tennis. Due to Bear Lake’s isolation, a fragile lake ecosystem has evolved and resulted in great fishing. Fish story sized mackinaw and lake trout are sought by avid fishermen along with white fish. The famous Bonneville Cisco are harvested in mid January by dipping the fish from the lake in nets, often through holes cut through the ice.
The western edge of the two counties contains a large section of the Cache National Forest. The eastern border of Bear Lake contains the Caribou National Forest, and the Pruess Mountain Range, with Rich County the upper Bear River Plateau and the Crawford Mountains. High mountain recreational opportunities span the seasons. Winter offers Cross Country skiing and snowmobiling. Spring features high mountain valleys full of wildflowers and marshes abundant with waterfowl. Summer and fall hiking, camping, backpacking, and horseback riding opportunities abound for the novice or the more experienced. Deep, long canyons show fall colors at their best with aspen, pine, and maple combinations. Hunting opportunities include elk, and deer, along with moose and antelope, and other small game.
The names of natural features such as Pruess Mountain Range, Cache National Forest, and of towns, such as Woodruff and St. Charles hint at a historical heritage of Indians, mountain men, and pioneers. Local legends conjure up adventures to seek the Bear Lake Monster and of Peg Leg Smith’s Golden Cairn. These natural features and rich history offer a unique western experience.
Bear Lake Launch Permit Application Documents:
Launch Permit Application
Online Application to Decontamination Certification
Bear Lake Blueprint
Special Event Permit Application
Regional Commission Goals and Objectives 2013
Documents & Agendas
Bear Lake County Planning & Zoning Commission Documents & Agendas
Planning & Zoning Commission Documents & Agendas
Map of confirmed Quagga Mussels
Information on Quagga Mussels
Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, and State Lands Bear Lake Beach Info