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Reflections on a Living Landmark


For millennia, Utah Lake has been the heart of a gracious desert valley, its waters a life-giving bounty for migrating birds and abundant fish, its shores a long-time home for people. Then nineteenth-century settlers, unversed in aridity, wreaked havoc on the lake and the lives it sustained. A World-War-II-era steel mill poisoned the water almost beyond recovery, and introduced species decimated aquatic life. Yet the lake still draws people to its shores, waters, and memories even as communal grief has partly obscured the potent, if tenuous, return of a great jewel of the West. These words arise from complex emotions, striking encounters, and surging hopes for a place that can transcend tragedy, heal community, and answer to past and future generations past and future.


Karin Anderson was raised near Utah Lake and surrounding mountains. She taught English at Utah Valley University for thirty years and promptly retired. She is the author of Before Us Like a Land of Dreams, the forthcoming novel What Falls Away, and co-editor of Blossom as the Cliffrose: Mormon Legacies and the Beckoning Wild, all published by Torrey House Press.

Amelia England is a poet, content marketer, and part-time tech journalist. Utah Lake Stories is Amelia’s second project with Torrey House Press; she also contributed to Blossom as the Cliffrose: Mormon Legacies and the Beckoning Wild (2020). She received her MA in Literature from Oregon State University and BA in English from Utah Valley University.

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