While I am on the topic of things that have surprised me about the Salt Lake City area, The Great Salt Lake is another surprise and I must admit a big disappointment. When you read the much touted figures, you would expect to find more than what is there. It is the fourth largest terminal lake in the world, largest lake west of the Mississippi, and I believe the second saltiest lake in the world! The current lake is the remnants of the ice age lake Bonneville that covered much of western Utah. So would you not expect there to be a big recreation function to this lake?
By chance, we talked with one of the members of the Salt Lake City development board and she extolled to us the many virtues of the lake and the activities that take place on it. We then talked to several long time residents of the area that referred to it as a nasty waste pit. So we tried to check it out for ourselves.
The first thing we noticed is there is very little access to the lake from the local area. There is one state marina, a very old building that used to be a resort in the early part of the last century and the State park on an island in the lake. After visiting the first two of these locations, our impression is very negative. Due to high water in the 1980’s they started a project to reduce the lake level and perhaps over did it, since the lake dropped six feet in depth, which is a lot for such a shallow lake. Therefore on the southern shore, there is a wide mud patch and very limited direct access to the lake.
We will check out the state park, which does sound very interesting, but the southern shore line is also marred by more mining operations with lots of ugly tailing piles everywhere.
To be fair we have not checked out the west and northern areas and likely will not get to do so, but looking at the maps, there is little to no access to the lake in these areas either.
We did meet one little native, but I am not knowledgeable enough to say just what it is. Anyone know?