The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge was established on the brackish marshes where the Bear River empties into the northern tip of the Great Salt Lake. In 1983, however, in the first of a series of flood years, Utah received an unusual amount of rainfall, and the 74,000-acre refuge was inundated by the rising Great Salt Lake. By 1986 the lake had reached its historic high point, destroying all the refuge's facilities, including a just-completed visitor center. After a
considerable amount of work, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was able to resurrect a 12-mi driving tour that follows various dikes. The habitat has been reclaimed, and the refuge once again hosts seasonal influxes of ducks, geese, pelicans, swans, and shore birds. The 31,000-square-foot James V. Hansen Wildlife Education Center contains interactive displays, an exhibit hall, a theater, observation decks, and teaching labs.