FWC News Release

Contact: Romi White, 850-206-2675 (DOF), or
Bob DeMauro, 850-293-0254 (FWC)

Repairs to the Bear Lake Dam and spillway are complete. The popular fishing and camping area in the Blackwater River State Forest will reopen to the public Saturday morning at 7 a.m.

The Florida Division of Forestry and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) closed the Bear Lake Recreation Area to the public May 6 after several storms dumped a massive amount of water in the area, severely eroding a portion of the spillway and threatening the dam’s collapse.

The FWC, which manages the lake for fishing, bid out the repair project. The Orange Hill Soil and Conservation District was the low bidder.

Officials dropped the lake level 5 feet immediately after the closure to protect the dam. The drawdown gate has been closed but the FWC urges boaters in the lake to use caution.

"There are a lot of snags and stumps near the surface that you can hit right now," said FWC fisheries biologist Bob DeMauro.

He said the lake level will be brought up 2 feet initially, depending on rainfall, then the remaining 3 feet this fall.