Celebrating the tale of Old Ephraim

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Source: CVDaily Feed
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August 22 will mark the 90th anniversary of Old Ephraim’s death. In honor of the last-known grizzly bear in Utah, there will be a story-telling event put on by Stokes Nature Center on Saturday, August 17th. The location is 100 W 2600 S in Nibley. The cost of the event is $5 per person or $15 for immediate families. Storyteller Daniel Bishop will tell tales of Logan Canyon, including the story of the battle between Frank Clark and Old Ephraim.

Old Ephraim was first spotted in the Cache National Forest in the summer of 1913. He became known as Old Three Toes due to a deformed foot. He wandered the mountains of Soda Springs, Idaho to Weber which is a large area for a grizzly bear to cover. Frank Clark of Malad, Idaho kept sheep near Right Hand Fork. According to Clark’s written story, he was not one to hunt but after his first summer in Logan Canyon, he lost 150 sheep to bears.

“He wasn’t hunting for sport and he wasn’t hunting for pelts. He was hunting to survive. He had to protect his livelihood,” said Storyteller Daniel Bishop.

Clark became familiar with Old Ephraim in 1912 and started trapping for him the following year. He would spend the next ten years trying to stop the giant grizzly from eating his sheep.

On the night of August 21, 1923, Clark woke up to a loud roar near his campsite. With his gun in tow, he got up from bed and went to check what the commotion was. He soon found Old Ephraim with his paw in one of Clark’s traps. Clark was alone with the bear so he hid until morning. In his personal account, he tells of how cold it was waiting in the dark with nothing but his underwear and shoes on. When it was finally light enough, Clark came out from hiding to kill the bear. It took Clark several shots to bring down the giant 9-foot, 11-inch grizzly.

“As he looked into Eph’s eyes after the final shot was made, the bear fell right at his feet. Frank sat down at the trail and watched the life leave the bear,” said Bishop. “There was a connection made. Clark felt sorry he was the one who had to eliminate this magnificent creature.”

Bishop explained that because of this encounter with Old Ephraim, Clark never killed another bear again.

Bishop thinks the story of Old Ephraim is one we tell over and over again because it talks about the driving spirit of the people who founded this area.

“As a people, we need to remember our history, our stories and our past. That way, we know who we are and where we came from,” he said.

Members of the community can visit Old Ephraim’s grave up Right Hand Fork of Logan Canyon. His skull, which was originally on display in the Smithsonian, can now be found at Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library in Special Collections. Frank Clark’s copy of the story along with other articles and photos can be found through USU’s Digital Collections.

To find out about Daniel Bishop’s upcoming storytelling events, you can visit his website.