Idaho is home to the Craters of the Moon National Monument, a vast volcanic landscape that covers more than 750,000 acres. The area is so named because it resembles a lunar landscape, and it's a popular destination for hikers, campers, and nature enthusiasts.
Bear Lake County, Idaho has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shoshone and Bannock tribes, who relied on the natural resources provided by the lake and surrounding lands for their livelihoods. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes continue to have a strong presence in the region today.

The first European settlers arrived in the Bear Lake Valley in the early 1860s. They were primarily Mormon pioneers seeking a new place to settle and establish farms. These settlers built the first permanent communities, including the town of Paris, which was named after the capital of France. The first non-indigenous child born in the area was also named Paris, in honor of the town.

The region experienced a period of growth and development in the late 1800s, with the creation of additional towns such as Montpelier and Fish Haven. The completion of the Utah and Northern Railway in 1879 further facilitated transportation and trade in the area, leading to increased economic opportunities.

In the early 20th century, Bear Lake County became known as a tourist destination, attracting visitors with its picturesque landscapes, recreational activities, and the natural beauty of Bear Lake itself. This led to the development of resorts and the growth of tourism-related industries. Today, the county continues to be a popular tourist spot, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and winter sports.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Bear Lake County, Idaho.

  • 1818 - The area where Bear Lake County is located was explored by fur trappers.
  • 1863 - Bear Lake County was established as a county in Idaho Territory.
  • 1868 - The Bear Lake area became known for its agricultural potential and began attracting settlers.
  • 1870 - The first permanent settlement, Paris, was established in Bear Lake County.
  • 1875 - The town of Montpelier was founded.
  • 1881 - The Oregon Short Line Railroad reached Montpelier, boosting the local economy.
  • 1885 - The town of Georgetown was established in Bear Lake County.
  • 1891 - Bear Lake County's population reached its peak, fueled by agriculture, mining, and the railroad industry.
  • 1900 - The Bear Lake Valley Irrigation Company was formed, bringing significant improvements to agricultural practices in the county.
  • 1920s - The Great Depression and declining agricultural prices had a significant impact on Bear Lake County's economy.
  • 1943 - Construction of the Minidoka Dam began in Bear Lake County as part of a federal reclamation project.
  • 1949 - The Minidoka Dam was completed, providing water for irrigation and contributing to the local economy.
  • 1950s-1960s - The construction of highways and improved transportation infrastructure connected Bear Lake County to nearby cities and towns.
  • 1980s - The county experienced a small population growth due to increased tourism and recreational activities in the Bear Lake area.
  • 1992 - The town of Fish Haven was incorporated.
  • 2000s - Bear Lake County continued to attract tourists and outdoor enthusiasts, becoming a popular vacation destination.