Bear River Recreation Area to remain open for day use under new agreement

 Published on Dec. 1, 2022

The Bear River Recreation Area in Colfax will remain open to the public for daytime use only under a new agreement with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The agreement, approved Nov. 29 by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, will allow the county to provide essential services such as ranger patrols, and garbage and restroom facility services while the property remains open for day use.

The agreement comes after the county’s contract with the property owner, CDFW, to manage the Bear River Campground expired Nov. 12. The county previously operated the property for the past 54 years.

“I am excited for Bear River Recreation Area visitors as the park’s future was uncertain when our contract with the state expired,” said Placer County Board of Supervisors Chair and District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.

The board's decision comes on the heels of a series of public outreach meetings eliciting community feedback on the property’s future.

"The public has given us very constructive feedback and has expressed their desire to see continued public access and uninterrupted service to the Bear River property,” said Andy Fisher, county parks administrator. “This agreement meets those immediate needs and gives the state time to consider the best options for long-term management.”

Also in response to public feedback, the county and CDFW will be installing new signage to provide guidance and rules consistent with the new agreement. Picnic tables are also slated to be installed near day-use parking areas, and vegetation management will continue under CDFW guidance.

During a presentation to the board, CDFW Regional Manager Kevin Thomas, noted their willingness to consider a variety of third-party agencies and organizations that could play a role in long-term management.

The recreation area offers a variety of day-use activities including hiking, swimming, fishing, gold panning and more. A 3-mile trail network runs through the park’s 200-acre property where wildlife such as deer, porcupines and squirrels are often seen. Camping will not be allowed during the life of this agreement but may be reconsidered by the state in the future.