By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
For motorsports enthusiasts, the Bonneville Salt Flats is hallowed ground. From the first speed record in 1914 through present day, thousands of records have been broken in many automobile, truck and motorcycle classes.
A SEMA-supported resolution urging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats was approved by the Utah House and Senate and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert. The resolution calls attention to the deterioration of the Bonneville Salt Flats and urges the BLM to work with the Save the Salt Coalition, Utah Alliance and other concerned stakeholders to formulate a plan to restore the Bonneville Salt Flats International Speedway. The resolution also urges the U.S. Congress to take action to restore safe racing conditions.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Bonneville Salt Flats is an awe-inspiring geologic phenomenon. For motorsports enthusiasts, it is hallowed ground. From the first speed record in 1914 through present day, thousands of records have been broken in many automobile, truck and motorcycle classes.
Nearly all of the racing events were cancelled in 2014 and 2015 due to rain and salt surface degradation. However, there was a silver lining, as major players with a vested interest in Bonneville pledged to work together toward its restoration.
“Although concerns about deterioration at Bonneville have existed for decades, this is the first time officials representing government, industry and racers are sitting at the same table to discuss solutions,” said Doug Evans, chairman of the Save the Salt Coalition. “We are finally at the starting line in the race to save Bonneville.”
The Utah state resolution is a next step in those efforts. Although it has a broad mandate without funding, it is a clear directive that will help spur action.
“Bonneville is a national treasure,” said Louise Noeth, spokesperson for Save the Salt Coalition and Utah Alliance. “The resolution is a love letter from the people, leadership and administration of the state of Utah directing this treasure be saved.”
The Coalition and Alliance are finalizing comprehensive recommendations for restoring Bonneville. Although the goal will take many years to achieve, the starting flag is being dropped in 2016.