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Part of Bonneville Salt Flats resurfaced

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(Tire Business file photo) The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is fronting a program to replenish salt at the historic Bonneville Salt Flats site.

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (July 1, 2014) — Approximately 2,000 tons of salt were successfully deposited on the mud surface at the end of the access road to the Bonneville Salt Flats in what organizers described as a modest preservation project.

( 2014 photos) Heavy equipment from Shelton Construction, which has worked in the area in and near the historic Bonneville Salt Flats, spread tons of dry salt in the latest project to preserve and restore muddy areas of the Salt Flats that previously had been covered by salt.

Over several days in mid-June the area was graded and then dried to a hard concrete-like racing surface, according to the Save the Salt Coalition, which said that “although modest in scope, the project demonstrates that it should be possible to deposit dry salt in targeted areas so as to help preserve our national treasure, the site where land speed records have been set over the past 100 years.”

The project was organized by the coalition in coordination with the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Shelton Construction—which, according to the coalition, has decades of experience working in and around Bonneville—deposited the salt over the mud in an area once covered by salt.

“The dry salt laydown project marks a milestone event as we celebrate a century of racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats,” said Doug Evans, chairman of the Save the Salt Coalition. “There has been a significant loss of salt in the area since the 1940s. While millions of tons of salt brine have been pumped back in recent years, a supplemental dry salt program will focus on targeted areas such as the race tracks.”

The Salt Flats is a National Landmark and a geologic phenomenon of international significance, preservationists say, noting that “for motorsports enthusiasts worldwide, it is hallowed ground. From the first speed record attempts in 1914 and through the present day, hundreds of records have been set and broken in a variety of automotive and motorcycle classes.”

The coalition comprises a number of organizations and companies within the land speed racing community tasked with the mission of restoring the Bonneville Salt Flats through various fundraising efforts to help pay for equipment and transportation costs associated with the dry salt program. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) also is part of the coalition.

In the latest restoration project at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a muddy area (right) previously covered in salt is getting a new hard-salt surface.

Ron Main with the Speed Demon team—the world’s fastest piston-driven vehicle—said in a statement that the coalition “is now eager to take the next step this summer by laying down a two-mile strip of salt the width of a race track.

“Pending BLM approval, the test project will confirm that we can repair areas where it’s needed and help preserve and protect our national treasure, the Bonneville Salt Flats, for our future generations.”

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