Recreation: Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Road and Non-Motorized Trail Enhancements – Brigham City, Utah

The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, lies just west of Brigham City, and is one of the most important resting and staging areas for migrating waterfowl in North America.  The refuge has the potential to draw thousands of tourists with the necessary infrastructure improvements, which would provide economic benefit to Brigham City and Box Elder County. In 2005, Brigham City first expressed their strong interest in developing a nonmotorized trails system in Box Elder County that would connect the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge west of Interstate 15 (I-15) to an existing parkway trail east of I-15 that would encourage further development near the commuter rail terminus in the City.

Initially, Jordan & Associates identified a Federal grant through the DOT that would fund a trail to connect the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge Visitor Center west of I-15 to an existing parkway trail east of I-15. The parkway trail would highlight and improve the Forest Street interchange and encourage transit oriented development, an important part of the community’s planned growth since Brigham City is the terminus of the Front Runner Commuter Rail Project. Brigham City applied for and received $500,000 through a Federal Transportation Enhancements grant that provided the first nonmotorized trails link. 

We then worked with the Utah Congressional delegation to secure funding for needed improvements to the Bear River Access Road, which is located in both Brigham City and Box Elder County.  The access road is the primary public access point for the Refuge. Flooding in the early 1980s destroyed most of the road accessing the Refuge, discouraging visitors from driving to the area. Improving the access road was timely, since the Congressional delegation had secured funding to construct a visitors center at the Refuge, which was almost complete. More than $23.6 was secured in the 2005 SAFETEA-LU law for improvements to the Bear River Access Road, which has served as a critical link to trails that would connect the east side of Brigham City to the Refuge.

Brigham City had difficulty meeting the 20 percent local match required under the program, so Jordan & Associates identified a Federal transportation program that would pay for the nonfederal commitment.  Pat secured an additional $875,000 through the Federal Lands Highway Program in the FY 2008 transportation appropriation bill. Since the road accessed a Federal wildlife refuge, Brigham City was able to use this funding to meet the local match requirement, meaning that Brigham did not have to provide the local match.

Jordan & Associates demonstrated the ability to successfully advocate for Brigham City in both the politically charged environment of Capitol Hill and complex administrative agency settings. She identified Federal agency programs, as well as authorization and appropriation opportunities to address Brigham City’s priority to establish a comprehensive trails system in their community, and found innovative ways to solve the problem associated with a local match requirement