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Lake Effect: Great Salt Lake is buggy and beautiful

Jeff Manwaring floats in murky Great Salt Lake waters.
Exclusive Excursions

My name is Jeff Manwaring, and I'm the owner of Exclusive Excursions. And we do guided boat tours on the Great Salt Lake.

I've always just had a dream of doing boat tours and I tried to move to Hawaii a long time ago, but when the economy crashed in 2008, didn't work out, so I came back here and I thought, you know, Salt Lake has this huge lake that nobody ever does anything out there. I just thought, you come to Salt Lake City, you got to see the Salt Lake right?

We try to tell people about the lake, just keep them interested. Some good stories, just as you know, there's just so much history about the Great Salt Lake and it’s just such a cool, unique body of water. So it's really fun to tell people about it.

People think it's such a wasteland. You know, it's buggy, it smells, there's no beachfront property or hotels around it. And it is super buggy around the shore, but once you get out on the lake, it's definitely one of the prettier places I've seen. And even guests say that. Just seeing people float in the water. I mean, there's just a handful places in the world where you can actually float in water without sinking and I always jump in with them. I’ve brought friends and family out there on the boat. And then yeah, just the sunsets are second to none, just red and everything.

I mean, if the lake drops another foot, or even two feet, I mean, yeah, we'll definitely be out of business because we won't be able to get out of the marina. I mean, it'll suck. I'll be out of business. But I think the bigger issue is just that lake going down. It's gonna affect millions of migratory birds, the brine shrimp, the ecosystem of the state of Utah. There's just so many things that are just even bigger than me that if this lake goes down, then we're in trouble.

I tell people I would never do boat tours on any other lake. Great Salt Lake, it’s just so unique and so unlike any other lake in the world.

Aimee Van Tatenhove is a science reporter at UPR. She spends most of her time interviewing people doing interesting research in Utah and writing stories about wildlife, new technologies and local happenings. She is also a PhD student at Utah State University, studying white pelicans in the Great Salt Lake, so she thinks about birds a lot! She also loves fishing, skiing, baking, and gardening when she has a little free time.
Ellis Juhlin is a science reporter here at Utah Public Radio and a Master's Student at Utah State. She studies Ferruginous Hawk nestlings and the factors that influence their health. She loves our natural world and being part of wildlife research. Now, getting to communicate that kind of research to the UPR listeners through this position makes her love what she does even more. In her free time, you can find her outside on a trail with her partner Matt and her goofy pups Dodger and Finley. They love living in a place where there are year-round adventures to be had!