We should bill the lake for what it is—a place of grandeur and solitude, which nourishes our thoughts and heightens our sensitivity to nature. Seen in that light, the brine flies become a fascinating curiosity more than an annoyance. The Great Salt Lake offers a wilderness experience, not a beach party, and no amount of promotion and development will change that.

Dean L. May, Images of the Great Salt Lake

At twilight a wild and thrilling spectacle. . . . Dim and pale, the moon, the ghost of a dead world, lifted above the distant Wasatch peaks and stared at the acrid waters of a dead sea.

Alfred Lambourne, Our Inland Sea, 1887

Save the dashing of the waves against the shore absolutely nothing is heard. Not the jumping of a fish, the chirp of an insect nor any of the least thing betokening life, unless it be that very rarely a solitary gull is disturbed in his midnight rumination and flies screaming away. All is stillness and solitude profound.

Captain Howard Stansbury, The Stansbury Expedition

How might we appropriately care for something if we do not know about it? How can we as citizens make informed decisions, without first being informed? We cannot.

Bruce Thompson, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake

Great Salt Lake is a place where nothing is as it appears. It is a landscape of the imagination, where anything is possible.

Terry Tempest Williams, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Advisory Board

Great Salt Lake is a unique place in the Western Hemisphere because large concentrations of birds visit there… The disappearance of Great Salt Lake wetlands could mean the disappearance of whole species of birds.

Gonzalo Castro, Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Much has been made of the tragic loss of rain forests in our hemisphere... But, in fact, because of their productivity of plant and animal matter rich in fats and proteins, freshwater marshes are the most productive ecosystems on Earth.

Charles Potter, former Executive Director, North American Wildlife Foundation

We live along the Great Salt Lake, one of the most extraordinary natural features in North America. I do not believe we, as a community, have honored its rarity. Our lack of intimacy toward this inland sea is not out of neglect, but of ignorance. We do not know the nature of this vast body of water that sparkles and sings. If we did, the shores of the Great Salt Lake would look different.

Terry Tempest Williams, FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake Advisory Board

This is a fragile place, and a place where naked forms themselves give shape to our own often shapeless spiritual longings. We often wish to experience the non-city and the non-developed, to come close to a place where familiar things are not.

Will South, Images of Great Salt Lake, 1996

To travelers so long shut among the mountain ranges a sudden view over the expanse of silent waters had in it something sublime. Several large islands raised their rocky heads out of the waves. . . . Then, a storm burst down with sudden fury upon the lake, and entirely hid the islands from our view.

John C. Fremont, Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, 1845
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Why We Care

  • Several years ago I was enchanted by Alfred Lambourne’s romanticized paintings of the Great Salt Lake, so began my own quest to explore its islands and capture what I saw in quick, plein air, oil sketches.

    I made many day-trips to Black Rock and spent a significant amount of time camping on Stansbury and Antelope Islands, climbing their trails and swimming in their bays. My paintings became my diary as I observed the changing light and shadow on the rocks and water. The brine flies and gnats often hovered over my shoulder anxious to immortalize themselves in the sticky colorful oil paint.

    Kirk Henrichsen, Alfred Lambourne Prize Participant