Great Salt Lake Is Shrinking, and Some ATV Owners See a New Playground

If you’re feeling a little low today, just consider the fate of Utah’s Great Salt Lake — which is feeling even lower, we guarantee. Following five years of drought, the famed lake is experiencing near-record lows and is dropping at a rate of about an inch per week. As a result, the surrounding wetlands — prime insect and bird habitat — are shrinking. Just as alarming, all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts are taking advantage of the low water levels to illegally ride right over the lake bed and onto protected Antelope Island, home to the eponymous creatures as well as bighorn sheep and buffalo. Conservationists worry that in addition to damaging the fragile ecosystem, the ATV scofflaws will frighten the animals into fleeing from the island.