Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge | Kids Out and About Salt Lake City

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

2155 West Forest Street
Brigham City , UT , 84302
Phone: 435.723.5887
41° 30' 35.262" N, 112° 4' 9.7752" W
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The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge offers opportunities for wildlife viewing, photography, hunting, and fishing. The visitor center is a great place to start your visit. The displays and staff help maximize your enjoyment of the 12-mile auto tour.

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge lies in northern Utah, where the Bear River flows into the northeast arm of the Great Salt Lake.  The Refuge protects the marshes found at the mouth of the Bear River; these marshes are the largest freshwater component of the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.  Since these marshes are in turn surrounded by arid desert lands, it is little wonder that they have always been an oasis for waterbirds and wildlife.

The Refuge and other wetlands associated with the Great Salt Lake provide critical habitat for migrating birds from both the Pacific and Central Flyway of North America. This area contains abundant food for birds, including very important brine shrimp and other macroinvertebrates as well as necessary plants like sago pondweed.  Birds come to the Refuge by the millions to eat and rest during migration, and many other species stay to breed, nest and raise their young across the Refuge wetlands. Some of the Refuge's priority species include the white-faced ibis, the American white pelican, the black-necked stilt, the snowy plover, the cinnamon teal, and the tundra swan. You can download a full list of the Refuge's Priority Species.

Activities available at Bear River MBR include wildlife observation, wildlife photography, environmental education and interpretation, hunting and fishing. 

  • Hunting

    Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that we recognize as a healthy, traditional outdoor pastime, deeply rooted in America’s heritage.  Hunting can instill a unique understanding and appreciate of wildlife, their behavior, and their habitat needs.

    As practiced on refuges, hunting and fishing do not pose a threat to wildlife populations, and in some instances are necessary for sound wildlife management.  For example, because their natural predators are gone, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support.

    Hunting programs can promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on lands and waters in the Refuge System.

    To find out more about hunting opportunities at Bear River, please download our Hunting and Fishing Regulations brochure or visit our Hunting and Fishing pages.  You can also find the Utah state hunting guidelines and license information on their website by clicking here.

  • Fishing

    In addition to the conservation of wildlife and habitat, the Refuge System offers a wide variety of quality fishing opportunities.  Fishing programs promote understanding and appreciation of natural resources and their management on all lands and waters in the Refuge System.  Every year, about 7 million anglers visit national wildlife refuges, where knowledgeable staff and thousands of volunteers help them have a wonderful fishing experience.

    Quality fishing opportunities are available on more than 270 national wildlife refuges.  Visitors can experience virtually type of sport fishing on the continent.  From inconnu and grayling in remote Alaska, to snook hovering by mangroves in Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, national wildlife refuges offer anglers adventure and diversity.

    Bear River has several fishing areas open to the public along the river and canal system.  Fishing is mainly for channel catfish.  For more information on fishing locations, and fishing rules and regulations, download our Hunting & Fishing brochure, or check out the Utah State Fishing website.

  • Birding

    If you enjoy getting outdoors and looking for wildlife, consider a visit to your nearest national wildlife refuge!  From birding to whale watching, from viewing speedy pronghorn antelope or slow-moving box turtles, wildlife observation is the most popular activity for refuge visitors.

    From every state and all parts of the globe, about 40 million people visit each year, especially for the chance to see concentrations of wildlife and birds.  The National Wildlife Refuge System’s extensive trail system, boardwalks, observation decks, hunting and photography blinds, fishing piers and boat launches encourage visitors to discover America’s best wildlife spectacles.  

    For more information about birding at Bear River, check out the Refuge Birding Blog, or our bird sightings gadget from eBird.

  • Environmental Education

    National Wildlife Refuges serve many purposes, and one of our most important roles is as outdoor classrooms to teach about wildlife and natural resources.  Many refuges offer environmental education programs for a variety of audiences.  Refuges provide unique and exciting outdoor environments – excellent locations for hands-on learning activities, and Bear River is no exception - with an award winning Environmental Education program.

    Is your school, youth, environmental or other group interested in learning more about the wildlife, plants, habitats and ecology of a particular national wildlife refuge?  For more information, check out our Events Calendar or Environmental Education pages, or mail us at

  • Photography & Wildlife Viewing

    Perhaps the fastest growing activity on national wildlife refuges in the past ten years has been wildlife photography.  That’s not surprising – the digital camera population explosion and cell phones with ever-improving picture-taking abilities are increasing the number of nature photographers at a rapid rate.  You don’t need to purchase expensive equipment or have any experience to get started.  A small camera or basic cell phone will do just fine for most visitors.

    Nearly 12 million people visit outdoor areas each year to photograph wildlife, and national wildlife refuges naturally are at the top of the list.  Refuges provide enhanced opportunities to photograph wildlife in natural habitats by providing platforms, brochures, interpreters, viewing areas, and tour routes.  Wildlife photography is a high-priority activity in the Refuge System.  We welcome beginning and expert photographers alike to record their outdoor adventures on film, memory card or internal hard drive! 

    AND, Bear River has an annual Amateur Photo Contest every fall.  So, if you've snapped some great pics while visiting the Refuge, consider entering them in our contest. For more information, download our PHOTO CONTEST RULES and ENTRY FORM.

  • Programs & Events

    Bear River MBR hosts many fun and educational events throughout the year - from Swan and Eagle days to conferences, symposiums and more.  To learn about what events are coming soon to the Refuge, check out our Events page.

    If you have any questions about visiting, Refuge regulations, or managment, please don't hesitate to contact us by phone or email.  

    Refuge Phone Number:       435.723.5887  
    Refuge Fax Number:           435.723.8873 
    General Visitor Info Line:    435.734.6425 
    Hunting Information Line:   435.734.6427  
    General Email Address:

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