The James A. Garfield, a paddle-wheeler, carried ore from the south shore of the Great Salt Lake up the Bear River as far as Corinne for transshipment by rail before 1874.
Geologists John W. Powell and G.K. Gilbert reported as early as 1878 that the Bear River waters would generate controversy. The truth of their foresight was proven when one of the first stream-gauging stations in the U.S. was established at Collinston in 1889. Farmers in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah wanted as much water as they could get and power companies filed for rights. Coming close to Bear Lake but not part of it, the River was joined by an inlet in 1918 in order that river waters could be stored in the lake. Under the 1955 Bear River Compact water rights have been redefined and use is regulated more to the users' satisfaction.
Jay M. Haymond