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Lake Effect: cycling around Great Salt Lake inspires awe in Alek Konkol

Alek Konkol, a white brown-haired young person, smiles at the camera.

My name is Alek Konkol, and I live in the east central neighborhood in Salt Lake City. I would call myself a person who likes to bike around the lake. That's the most important thing for me is the access to really awesome cycling around the lake that a lot of people don't even realize exists.

I did a trip a couple of years ago where we circumnavigated the Bear River Bay on bikes. So, the Union Pacific line runs from I want to say, like kind of near Roy, and then it goes across the lake via Promontory Point. And it's a built up dike all along, and when I was riding along this Union Pacific access road, basically is what it is, along the train tracks there.

When we got to the Promontory Point, the train had just started to come across this, like, dike that has been built up for 100 years plus now and that dike is you can see it from the air, there's the red part of the lake, and there's the blue part of the lake.

Now we've kind of separated two arms of the lake. And I'm not smart enough to know the environmental impacts of that. But I'm sure it's probably not ideal, but when I was riding along it, and one side is dark red, and the other side is blue…that was crazy. It's the same lake really, it's just you know, you look to your right, and it feels like you're in some sort of like Star Wars universe.

That experience really drew me in to how awesome this body of water is, and I feel like maybe people look at the lake as desolate, as nothing. There's quite a bit out there. There's a sense that you're totally isolated. And I don't think we really get that sense in our modern city-living a whole lot. But when you're out on the access road of the Union Pacific, in the middle of the lake or on, like, the western edge of Antelope Island or whatever it is, really it's just you and that is awesome. At least for me.

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!