SALT LAKE CITY (KSL) – Four teenage Canadians are accused of causing damage to natural wonders across the United States, including the Bonneville Salt Flats, and then posting about it on social media.
The “High on Life” band gained notoriety for entering a restricted zone at Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring. However, what they did in the Salt Flats has enraged many people, particularly those who attend Speed Week.
Hundreds of people travel from all over the world to participate in the race, which was canceled for two years due to rain. Then they view a video of men water skiing behind an RV on the Salt Flats.
“You might as well go paint graffiti on Mount Rushmore as far as the racing community is concerned,” said Dennis Sullivan, president of the Utah Salt Flats Association and chairman of the Save the Salt Utah Alliance.
For Sullivan, this unspoiled landscape is heaven on earth. For the past 30 years, he has been exploring the Salt Flats.
“To most racers, the Salt Flats are practically a spiritual thing,” Sullivan remarked.
Sullivan expressed his sadness at seeing how carelessly individuals treated a location he and many others struggle to safeguard.
“People don’t realize how much harm is being done,” Sullivan said. “If you go back and look at those photographs, you can see the mud being churned up under the wheels of that motorhome.”
Because of the risk of lasting harm to the fragile salt, a law passed in 1985 prohibits driving in the region while it is wet. The Bureau of Land Management is now looking into the actions of the High on Life organization.
“We’re not sure if that’s a violation we’ll prosecute, but we’ll look into it since it’s a policy violation,” Kevin Oliver, BLM West Desert District Manager, said.
Young guys are breaking this policy. The crew has also flown drones over Zion National Park, hanged from Corona Arch by rope, hopped a barrier at Machu Picchu in Peru, and clowned around at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial.
Their actions impact individuals throughout the world, even in Utah.
“The Bonneville Salt Flats is a critically significant resource on a global scale,” Oliver remarked.
The men’s actions may impact this year’s speed week races.
“Depending on where they are, if they implement this where the courses are, it may hinder running it,” Sullivan said.
While the Salt Flats are forgiving, recovery can take years.
“There is some example where you can tell where they got stuck after 15 years,” Sullivan said.
The males have been charged with misdemeanors in connection with actions in Yellowstone, but they now returned to Canada. The investigation in Utah is still ongoing.
The group issued an apology on Facebook and contributed $5,000 to Yellowstone National Park. Despite this, a petition to ban them from all US national parks has been circulated.