A Year with Great Salt Lake: Tom Wharton’s Explorations Republished

A Year with Great Salt Lake: Tom Wharton’s Explorations Republished


Happy New Year!

Though we’re a few weeks in, 2015 still lies before us like a blank slate, waiting to be filled with adventures and experiences.  There are many things I am excited about, both personally (October wedding, here we come!) and here at Seasons of Salt.  In particular, I am thrilled to announce a very special series – bringing back an old favorite and pairing it with some new thoughts on all things Great Salt Lake.

In 1992, Tom Wharton at the Salt Lake Tribune spent an entire year exploring the Lake, and wrote a series of articles that introduced his readers to a complex place very few of them knew anything about – beyond being a flooding, smelly wasteland. That series was commemorated in a tabloid a year later, which collected all of Tom’s articles, and included commentary from Terry Tempest Williams and cartoons from Pat Bagley.  It was sponsored by several nonprofits and government agencies, and called The Great Salt Lake: Utah’s Amazing Inland Sea or A Year With The Great Salt Lake.



In the decade before this series, the Lake flooded, swamping Salt Air and threatening homes and the airport. Just the year before, Terry Tempest Williams published her memoirs of her family and the flooding Lake in Refuge. Awareness of the Lake was high, though not necessarily positive. As he embarked on his year-long journey, the Lake was receding, the roads were being rebuilt, and Antelope Island was about to reopen to the public.

Today, we find ourselves near record low levels, and while much has changed, much of what Tom Wharton documented 23 years ago is unchanged. You will see what I mean as you read his words in this series of articles, which we will publish once a month as the Tribune did the year they debuted.


Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • January 27 – Utah’s Dead Sea Brims with Life, Myth, and Mystery, and Bald Eagles Play Out Dramatic Struggle on Ogden Bay
  • February 24 – Great Salt Lake: Three Life-Giving Rivers Run to it
  • March 30 – Great Salt Lake’s Geology Reveals Earth’s Secrets
  • April 27 – Wetlands: Earth’s Most Productive Ecosystems
  • May 25 – Silence of Sanctuary Deafened Biologists and Gunnison Island Gives Thousands of Birds a Start in Life
  • June 29 – Despite Poor Facilities, Great Salt Lake is a Must-See for Tourists
  • July 27 – Great Salt Lake: A Vital Filling Station for Fly-Loving Birds
  • August 31 – Without Pesky Brine Flies, Great Salt Lake Would DieTiny Shrimp Play Giant Lake Role, and Unusual Buffalo Roam Antelope Island Range
  • September 28 – The Unexplored Shores and Pumps are There if Needed Again
  • October 26 – Duck Hunting: A Great Salt Lake TraditionClubs Contribute to Lake’s Wealth of Waterfowl, and Hunting-License Dollars Help Keep Utah Marshes Green
  • November 30 – Thriving Industries Prove Lake is No Dead Sea and Great Salt Lake Industry Produces Salts of the Earth
  • December 27 – Personal Journey Reveals Lively Nature of Utah’s Dead Lake

Other articles, along with the incredible graphics, timelines, and photography included in the tabloid will be published throughout the year as well as the original series, above.  Some articles will also have fresh commentary from Lake personalities on how things have changed (or not) since 1992. Plus, it turns out Seasons of Salt and it’s original iteration, Summer of Salt, have covered a lot of these topics as well – so we’ll be sure to reintroduce you to our own wanderings as we go.


This republishing of “A Year With The Great Salt Lake” is made possible with permission from Tom Wharton and the Salt Lake Tribune, and in collaboration with Wayne Martinson, who gave me a stack of the tabloids and met with me to brainstorm ideas for the series.  My thanks to both of them!


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