History of the Great Salt Lake Desert, Utah

The Great Salt Lake Desert, a remnant of Lake Bonneville, extends southwest of the Great Salt Lake north of Wendover to Nevada's Pilot Range and south to the Deep Creek Mountains. The desert covered some 4,000 square miles (10,500 square km).

Much of the desert is occupied by military instillation such as Hill Air Force Range north of I-80 and to the south Wendover Air Force Range, Deseret Test Center and Dugway Proving Grounds. Also north of I-80, near Wendover, the Bonneville Salt Flats encumpuses a section of the desert just ouside of Wendover. In in the southern part, near Grantsville, large tracts of desert land still provide grazing in the winter for livestock.

In 1827, frontiersman Jedediah Smith was probably the first white man to cross this barren spot on his return trip from California.

G. William Wiersdorf

See: American Southwest, Salt Lake Desert; Utah Place Names 1997, John W. Van Cott; History Encyclopedia, Bonneville Salt Flats, Granstville.

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