As the annual running of the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats continues, so to does the importance of the Save the Salt Coalition. Not only does this organization strive to replenish the salt at one of America’s historic places, it also aims to maintain the automotive significance of the area with the continuation of land speed races. The Salt Flats have seen a severe decrease in mass over the last century and without replenishment, the area will continue to dwindle. But as we found out from the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, there are things that can be done to guarantee the same salt racing opportunities for future generations.
As we told you last year, what used to cover 96,000 acres now covers less than a third of the area in salt. This is due in part to a local potash mining operation removing salt water from the yearly and natural replenishing cycle of the salt bed. The salt water has been removed by the mining operation since 1939 and is pumped into evaporation pools to extract minerals. The salt itself is of no interest to the miners but has been removed in excess quantities due to the mining process.
In fact, so much salt has been removed that by the mid-1990s, nearly 18 inches of salt crust had disappeared.
Efforts to replenish the Salt Flats with their mineral base have been somewhat effective since, but many fear it’s not enough. In the late 90s, brine water was pumped back into the Salt Flats to help replenish the salt crust at a rate of 1.5 million tons of salt per year, but since that program ended in 2002, the area has not seen the replenishment needed to preserve the dwindling salt bed.
That’s why the Save the Salt Coalition was formed. With industry and enthusiast support, this organization aims to continue replenishment projects and a mineral management program to save the Salt Flats from further deterioration. Not only does this guarantee the safety of a national treasure, it also secures racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats for years to come.
The Save the Salt Coalition survives merely on donations with the organization offering five donation levels to help, including Any Amount, Friends, Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.
At the Bronze level, donors receive a plaque with an image of the Salt Flats expanding to the horizon with their name and date of donation engraved on it. At the Silver and Gold levels for donating $2,000 and $3,000 to the cause, donors receive plaques with a 1/24 scale “Speed Demon” racer in either silver or gold in front of the expansive Salt Flat image.
Speed Week is in full swing this week and we wish everyone with a record-setting (be it personal or national) goal in mind luck. Thanks to the Save the Salt Coalition and their donors, we can hopefully see Speed Week continue for many years to come.