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Bonneville Salt Flat Speedway Needs Your Support

Souped up vehicles working to beat speed records have been racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats for decades, but now due to erosion those days may be numbered.

The beautiful white landscape that seems to never end is a salt crust that has been built up over thousands of years that covers a soft, muddy interior. This salt layer has unfortunately begun to leach southward into evaporative ponds used for extracting potassium chloride, weakening the crust and creating fragile or unsafe driving conditions.

But thanks to SEMA and the Bureau of Land Management, Utah might have a way to rebuild this natural wonder.

There is a $50 million plan being proposed to help reestablish this top layer by pumping in 540 gallons of brine over the next decade. The hope is that as the water evaporates, the salt left over will strengthen this vital crust layer by layer.

This kind of project is already being done in other areas of the Bonneville Salt Flats on a smaller scale, the proposed plan simply expands that project to include the International Speedway. This historical site has already seen massive shrinkage of usable area since its beginnings, from a 13-mile-long track to 8 usable miles today.

The plan still hasn’t passed legislation to approve the funding, so it needs as much support as possible to be considered for any state or federal money. You can contact lawmakers to show your support here and you can read more about current restoration efforts from the non-profit Save the Salt Coalition.

The Save the Salt Coalition has been working to preserve this national landmark since 1989 when it was found that mining and neglect had begun to deteriorate the salt crust. The group consists of automotive professionals, racers and community members from the Salt Lake region that see the importance of preserving such a unique landscape. They are at the forefront of conservation efforts and are helping raise funds to begin the $50 million-dollar project of rebuilding the salt layer. The racing community has already promised $2.5 million towards the effort if the proposal goes through. Lobbyists are working to get $5 million from the state legislature in the hopes that it will persuade the federal government to approve the rest.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are not only a natural landmark, but a piece of racing history dating all the way back to 1914. Preserving this track ensures that racers will be setting speed records for decades more to come.