Stakeholders Meet to Discuss Fate of Bonneville Salt Flats

As Utah Alliance member Rick Vesco listens, Roger Lessman explains the September 14th Tour route as Russ (L) and Eric (R) Eyres look on.
Tour participants examine a 16-inch deep hole dug at the 7-mile mark in a graphic display of salt crust loss on the high speed race course.

September 14, 2015 (Wendover, UT) – The Utah Alliance and Save the Salt Coalition met with a variety of stakeholder groups at the Bonneville Salt Flats (BSF) in Utah this week to discuss potential solutions for restoring the historic racing venue. The BSF has been in the spotlight following cancellation this year of five major racing events 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 then 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.”

Utah Alliance Tour Guide Rick Vesco atop the Salduro Loop dike explains the erosion and point of original brine collection ditch.

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.

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Save The Salt Treasurer and ‘defacto” geologist Russ Eyres updates tour participants on his 12-years of locating race courses and associated salt crust measurements.

“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.
The Save the Salt Coalition is an international group of businesses and organizations with a vested interest in the BSF.  Major LSR sanctioning organizations are members of both groups.  The two groups have partnered on the shared mission of restoring the BSF as the premier venue for setting world land speed records.  The collaboration allows experts within the groups to undertake specific roles and projects.
The Utah Alliance is a group of land speed racing individuals that live in or have connections with the State of Utah through employment or governmental agencies. The Utah Alliance works in Conjunction with the Save the Salt Coalition to “Preserve Our National Treasure – The Bonneville Salt Flats – As well as develop and execute a Comprehensive Reclamation Plan.”

Utah Alliance Leadership:

Racer Rick Vesco graphically demonstrates what the land speed racing community needs to safely race on the Bonneville Salt Falts; as he hammers with conviction the salt is not damaged at all.

DENNIS SULLIVAN – Chairman, USFRA President
RICK VESCO – Save the Salt Founding Member
LARRY VOLK – USFRA Founding member
GARY WILKINSON – Save The Salt Vice Chairman, USFRA
HUGH COLTHARP – USFRA Treasurer, USFRA Founding member
TOM BURKLAND – Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials
RUSS EYRES – Save The Salt Treasurer, SCTA/BNI Liaison

Utah Alliance Partners:

“LandSpeed” LOUISE ANN NOETH – Media Contact
TERRY NISH – Nish Motorsports, Research & Racing History
MIKE NISH – Nish Motorsports, Research & Racing History
RUSS DEANE – SEMA/Save The Salt Legal Counsel
ASHLEY AILSWORTH – SEMA/Save The Salt Legal Counsel
STUART GOSSWEIN – SEMA/Save The Salt Public Relations
CHAD BOOTH – AYL TV Salt Lake City, Media
Utah Alliance Supporters:

DICK ROSETTA – Utah Sports Hall Of Fame, Past Salt Lake Tribune Sports Editor
GREG MILLER – Director, Larry H Miller Family of Companies