Good news, land speed racing fans! We’re pleased to announce exciting progress regarding SEMA’s “Restore Bonneville” program. SEMA and the racing community have joined forces with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and its Utah Geological Survey (UGS) division, and Intrepid Potash, Inc. in a collaborative effort to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats, starting with the installation of a new water well and weather and hydrologic equipment for measuring salt growth conditions on the salt flats.
The BLM and DNR signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2020 to jointly pursue restoration efforts. DNR is managing the program in conjunction with the BLM, and it is operated by Intrepid Potash. The endeavor, which SEMA calls “Restore Bonneville”, is strongly supported by the Save the Salt Coalition, a SEMA-led collection of companies, organizations, individuals, and land speed racing teams.
Thanks to everyone from the automotive community who have sent letters in the past encouraging Utah and Federal agencies to spend the money appropriated to them to help restore the Bonneville Salt Flats. Federal and state funds have been released to install the monitoring equipment and to increase the volume of salt pumped onto the Bonneville Salt Flats this year to a total of up to 500,000 tons.
Stakeholders are now identifying projects to be pursued in 2022 and beyond to continue increasing the volume of salt being pumped. While the bulk of the program funding will come from federal and state appropriations, both industry and the land speed racing community will voluntarily help pay the costs. Financial contributions from the racing community are encouraged and gratefully accepted at www.savethesalt.org, a 501(c)(3) organization.
More information: SEMA Applauds Public-Private Effort to Save the Bonneville Salt Flats | Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)
Save The Salt hosted CBS News crew at the Bonneville Salt Flats - at least what is left of it. . .
UPDATE: If you missed the live broadcast, the show is available using the hot link below. The Bonneville segment is 8 minutes in length.
CBS NEWS: Debate Rages Over the Future of the Bonneville Salt Flats
On Saturday, October 5th, 2019, CBS This Morning aired a report on conditions at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The CBS network news crew spent two days on the salt in mid-September observing the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association's "World of Speed" event where they spoke with more than a dozen racers, officials and spectators about the unchecked decline in salt crust thickness -- essential to safe land speed racing and record setting for amateur motorsports.
CBS This Morning co-host Jeff Glor, producer Dan Ruetenik and cameraman Roger Masterton conducted interviews with USFRA President Dennis Sullivan and Veteran land speed racer Rick Vesco, both of whom have donated countless hours to the effort to restore Bonneville. Historical racing footage was provided by Pete Farnsworth, builder of the Blue Flame Rocket Car, Danny Thompson shared clips of his father Mickey's original Challenger runs, Al and Jane Teague's Spirit of 76 streamliner, and TEAM Vesco of the 500MPH Turbinator along with film clips going back to the 1950s.
Save the Salt is working with local, state and federal government officials and the mine lease holder to implement a 10-year Restore Bonneville program. It will dramatically increase the amount of salt being pumped onto Bonneville after potash is removed. The current pumping program has helped stabilize Bonneville, but the infrastructure must be upgraded in order to restore this historic landmark. In early 2019, the State of Utah appropriated $5 million to the restoration process, contingent upon receiving $45 million from the federal government and other sources. The program will be administered by the State of Utah in coordination with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Be sure to watch the County Seat program, aired Sunday, January 6, 2019, with Congressman Chris Stewart, Dennis Sullivan, Tooele County and Chad Booth. The video link below provides detailed information on the restoration of the Bonneville Salt Flats. You will recognize our SDRC club members in the video. It is 29 minutes long and if you are interested in continuing to run on Bonneville here is the beginning of a solution to the problem.