Heavy runoff means more water, less beach at Bear Lake
May 29, 2023, 6:09 PM | Updated: 6:18 pm
RICH COUNTY, Utah — Memorial Day weekend at Bear Lake is starting the tourism season, with much less beach than in previous years.
The rivers continue to flood agricultural land along the Bear River, but at the state park on the Utah side, it means a lot less beach. While it’s not a big deal for the early crowds, as things heat up later in the season, it will mean significantly fewer parking spaces.
“In the past four weeks, it’s come up almost 3 feet, which is really good for Bear Lake. That’s a lot of water coming in,” explained Richard Droesbeke, Utah’s Bear Lake State Park manager.
However, Droesbeke said they won’t be able to allow parking on the sand this year. Meaning far fewer cars will be allowed through the gates each day.
“So parking will be at a premium and finding places to come, but we’ll have lots of water to have fun in,” he said.
And after years of drought, it’s hard to find someone to complain about that.
“It’s just a great opportunity to be out in nature and do some painting while I’m out here,” said visitor Sarah Wilson while with her family at a reunion at the lake.
“Bear Lake is beautiful. It’s nice to have a body of water like this in Utah,” added Danny Wilson.
While there are some concerns about runoff making the water too cold to enjoy, Droesbeke said that’s typically not the case as the Bear River water runs over its banks and gets heated by the sun.