Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge protects nearly 80,000 acres of wetlands in our backyard. This is no accident. Decades of efforts, setbacks, and community engagement created the precious resource we can all enjoy today.
The journey safeguarding our marshlands includes a variety of characters: duck hunters, scientists, and community members from all walks of life. These figures have left a legacy for us to continue.
We invite all to discover more about its history, and its hopeful future through this exhibition now open through Saturday, November 13.
Hometown Habitat is part of Think Water Utah, a statewide collaboration and conversation on the critical topic of water presented by Utah Humanities and the Bear River Heritage Area.
We've compiled some links to historical records, maps, and other resources to offer more information on the history of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.
- Click here for directions.
- Follow the Refuge on Facebook and Twitter for upcoming events.
- Don't forget the auto loop! Click here for an updated list of birds you might see along the drive.
- If you or a group you know is interested in volunteering at the Refuge, email the Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Click here to learn more about purchasing a Duck Stamp to hunt waterfowl.
- Click here to learn more about purchasing a fishing license.
- Learn more about the United States Post Office Annual Duck Stamp contest that provides funding for wetlands conservation
Learn more about the history of the Duck Clubs of Utah from Duck Fever: Hunting Clubs and the Preservation of Marshlands on the Great Salt Lake by Jack Ray.
Read these oral histories about the founding of the refuge, the discovery of avian botulism, reconstruction after the flood, and other remembrances:
- Marcus Nelson tells the story of how E.R. Kalmbach, Director of the Bear River Refuge for the Denver Research Lab, discovered the strain of botulism that killed the birds in the early 1900s.
- Margaret Call's father, Vanez Wilson, was the chief engineer at Bear River Bird Refuge. She and her siblings grew up at the Refuge.
- Alan Trout and Larry Shanks describe the whole Bear River Bird Refuge Restoration project in great detail. This oral history was recorded about the time that the new visitors center was created.
- Alan and Kathy Trout This oral history offers further details on how Alan Trout came to work for the Refuge.
Here are a few news articles related to information in this exhibition:
- The Deseret News compiled a basic timeline of the Refuge's history.
- KSL compiled a visual history of the 1983 flood on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. Click here to see for yourself how State Street in Salt Lake City turned into a river.
- Bear River Bird Refuge Reappearing as level of Great Salt Lake Drops (Deseret News)
- Crews Trying to Revive Bear River Bird Refuge from Ruin of '83 Flood (Deseret News)
- Work on Bear River Refuge Impresses Interior Secretary (Deseret News)