The Utah Alliance and Save the Salt Coalition met with a variety of stakeholder groups at the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) in Utah last week to discuss potential solutions for restoring the historic racing venue.
The BSF has been in the spotlight following cancellation of five major racing events this year due to weather and deteriorating salt conditions. In response, the Utah Alliance organized a tour of the area with government officials who oversee the BSF, mine operators, geologists, engineers and other stakeholder groups. The tour allowed the parties to engage in follow-up discussions and begin identifying tangible restoration actions.
“Everyone displayed a willingness to come together to find a solution,” said Dennis Sullivan, chairman of the Utah Alliance. “There was a mutual respect demonstrated among the public agencies, private entities and racers. We all need to learn more from each other as we all have specific observations and experiences that need to be combined with scientific data to provide a viable way forward.”
The Utah Alliance and Save the Salt Coalition were joined by staff from: Utah Governor Herbert’s office, Senator Mike Lee’s office, Bureau of Land Management, Intrepid Potash-Wendover, Utah Department of Natural Resources, University of Utah’s Dr. Brenda Bowen, Brent Bingham, mayor of Wendover, Utah, councilman of West Wendover, Nevada, and a number of land speed racers.
The Utah Alliance and Save the Salt Coalition will next present a position statement to the stakeholders identifying a number of short- and long-term actions to be considered. Priority will be given to determine how to expand brine pumping and mitigate mud contamination.
“Although concerns about deterioration at Bonneville have existed for decades, today marked the first time officials representing government, industry and racers sat at the same table to discuss solutions,” said Doug Evans, chairman of the Save the Salt Coalition. “We are finally at the starting line in the race to save Bonneville.”
The groups indicated that no quick fixes existed to resolve issues related to the condition of the salt. However, they believe that given the high level of cooperation, the historic, internationally famous speedway will eventually be restored to safe racing conditions.