Bear Lake Regional Park Closed for Major Renovations

Erosion of Bear Lake shorelines is one of the main reasons for the park’s closure. Photo Provided by: Spokane County

Bear Lake Regional Park is closed to the public as Spokane County Parks begins a multi-phase renovation project. The closure allows for repairing eroding shorelines and enhancing public access in two high-use areas. 

Spokane County Parks has initiated a comprehensive plan to address the current challenges and future needs of Bear Lake Regional Park. The 166-acre park, located just 15 minutes north of Spokane, has been a popular outdoor destination for decades, offering a variety of recreational opportunities such as hiking, swimming, fishing, and non-motorized boating.

The first phase of the renovation project, which necessitated the park’s closure, focuses on two heavily used shoreline areas known as the “East Shore” and “West Shore.” These areas have experienced significant erosion and deteriorating structures that require replacement. The design work also aims to improve accessibility, ensuring that visitors of all abilities can enjoy the park’s amenities.

Throughout the planning process, which began in 2021, Spokane County Parks has actively sought public input through surveys, pop-up events, and online feedback. Park users have consistently emphasized the importance of preserving Bear Lake’s natural beauty while enhancing amenities for popular activities like walking, wildlife viewing, paddling, fishing, and swimming.

The East Shore design includes creating a sandy beach, installing a new deep-water fishing pier, developing a non-motorized boat launch area, expanding ADA parking, and constructing a new picnic shelter with a stunning view of the lake. Meanwhile, the West Shore design features expanded swimming and beach areas, shaded picnic spots, two new fishing piers, improved accessible parking and pathways, and the reopening of a previously closed restroom facility.

The anticipated project timeline for Bear Lake Regional Park outlines key milestones:

Construction on the East and West Shore areas began this month. The park will be closed to ensure safety and an uninterrupted process. As work progresses, Spokane County Parks will assess the feasibility of reopening sections of the park in stages. However, by November 1st, 2024, the goal is to reopen the park to the public, marking the completion of the initial phase of renovations. Looking ahead to summer 2025, Phase 1 Shoreline Repairs are set to conclude, enhancing both stability and aesthetics along the shore. Future phases of the renovation project will address improvements throughout the rest of the park, with timelines to be determined based on funding availability and project complexity.

As Spokane County continues to experience population growth, the demand for high-quality outdoor recreation is expected to increase. The Bear Lake Regional Park renovation project is a proactive effort to prepare the park for increased use while honoring its unique natural beauty and cherished recreational opportunities. Despite the temporary closure, the community can look forward to enjoying an enhanced Bear Lake Regional Park for generations to come.

Sources:

  • Bear Lake Regional Park Phase 1 Master Plan + Shoreline Repair DPGazette.com/l3rfl Accessed April 5th 2024
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