UTAH DROUGHT

Great Salt Lake tour showcases the shrinking lake and what is being uncovered

Jan 15, 2023, 12:30 PM
Dust blows through Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Trent Nelso...
Dust blows through Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune)
(Trent Nelson, The Salt Lake Tribune)

SALT LAKE CITY — A sign of a good adventure when there is mud and water involved.

“How are everyone’s shoes? Waterproof?” asked Great Salt Lake Park Ranger Angelic Anderson to a group of people.

However, no one seemed to mind how dirty or wet they got.

“I love it out here. It reminds me of my childhood. Just being out here and enjoying coming out here,” expressed Michelle Ricketts.

Ricketts brought her whole family, four generations, to Great Salt Lake State Park on Saturday because of the mirabilites tour. Mirabilites are those crystal formations that form on the muddy ground.

But, for as beautiful as the formations are, it’s hard not to notice how much the lake has receded in recent years.

“The reason we have these mirabilites is because the lakebed where they form is currently out of the water,” Anderson explained.

Part of the reason why park managers enjoy doing these tours is that it gets people out here to see the lake.

“You see it, and you start to care about it,” Anderson said.

The more awareness about the current state of the Great Salt Lake, the more people might try to do whatever they can to save it with more conservation efforts.

“We get people out here all the time from Utah who have never been here before,” Anderson said. “Then we get them talking and understanding about the lake.”

It helps to get people out when those mirabilite tours include shipwrecks.

“It is definitely interesting,” said Anderson with a laugh. “Those little things poking out of the water there. Being able to actually see these things that water was touching at one point.”

There are two shipwrecks near the visitor’s center. The one further away is a tugboat from the railroad days and can easily be seen.

However, because lake levels are up a foot since November because of all the storms Utah has had, the second shipwreck closer to the visitor’s center is pretty much back underwater.

“I remember people would scuba dive under that boat,” Ricketts said. “I mean, I was around in the 80’s and it was the opposite of this.”

For as much fun as it is to see these things, the hope is in the future all of them will be underwater again.

“With the lake being in danger, it’s talked about more and I think more people are learning about the importance of it,” Ricketts said.

More tours are being held on Jan. 15th, 16th, 21st, and 22nd.

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Great Salt Lake tour showcases the shrinking lake and what is being uncovered