Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Purchase Adds 28 Acres to Bear Lake State Park

Friday March 15, 2024

The acquisition will bring 1,200 feet of new shoreline into the popular State Park and provide public access to the west side of heavily used Bear Lake.

The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) bought the property, just east of Highway 89, for $2.5 million. Development of the land as a park unit is planned to occur over several years. Possible improvements being considered include beach day use, paved parking, picnic shelters, and potentially a few cabins or camping.

“This new unit will help relieve pressure on the North Beach and provide access to the west side of the lake,” said Andrew Stokes, manager of Bear Lake State Park.

A one-time payment of $55,780 from IDPR to Bear Lake County in lieu of tax was approved by the County Commission, said Rex Payne, a Bear Lake commissioner who testified at a March 8, 2024 IDPR Board meeting in favor of the purchase. The purchase closed Friday, March 15, 2024.

Providing a new point of public lake access will ease the traffic and congestion created by the existing concentration of users, Payne told the IDPR Board.

IDPR Director Susan Buxton says the purchase fulfills part of the department’s promise to add 25 new day use areas, 450 new campsites and 150 new and improved boat slips to Idaho’s outdoor recreation infrastructure, which has experienced increased use in recent years.

Gov. Brad Little and the Idaho Legislature have provided more than $140 million in state surplus and federal stimulus money to improve and expand State Park facilities, trails, and other recreational opportunities. The Fiscal Year 2025 budget, passed by the Idaho Legislature and awaiting action by Gov. Little, includes an additional $20 million for maintenance and facility improvements across the state.

Bear Lake Property Flyover