Cleanup Crew: 1, Entropy: 0 At The Spiral Jetty

From The Salt Lake Tribune, 1/21/06:

Spiral Jetty cleanup: Utah officials last month removed several tons of junk from Rozel Point, the area along the Great Salt Lake's north shore that is home to Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty.
"Anyone who has made the trip to see the famous Spiral Jetty . . . has passed through the area and certainly noted that it was an eyesore," says Joel Frandsen, director of the state Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, which supervised the cleanup along with the state Division of Oil, Gas and Mining.
Workers removed 18 loads of junk and plugged more than a dozen abandoned oil wells.
I spoke to someone at Forestry for some more detail. Included in that list of eyesores are the burned out trailer, that weird amphibious tank thing, the abandoned cars, basically most of the industrial detritus that fed into visitors' sense of Smithsonian entropy. [Todd discusses this and has pictures of the now-gone junk on From The Floor.]

And about those oil wells, it turns out the oil is quite viscous, kind of tar-like, and it pools very slowly over the years. Some might say that for Smithson, that's not a bug; it's a feature. Well it's moot now.

The project took a couple of weeks and supposedly focused only on sovereign land: state-owned shoreline, which is determined by elevation [i.e., the land, below 4,201' I think, which is about four feet higher than the Jetty itself. Depending on the terrain, a 4' change in elevation can take you quite a ways inland, although I can't see it going all the way up to the trailer...hmm.]

There was also talk of negotiating an easement for parking, so that visitors won't have to park on the road or trespass when they park beyond the "end of road" sign.

I didn't get the sense that the Dia Center was involved in the project in any way, but we'll see. I have some queries into them at the moment. The deadline for bids for a concession to operate a capuccino-and-smoothie cart during the peak Jetty months of June-October will begin March 15. OK, I made that last one up. I hope.

SLTrib Visual Arts [, thanks to Monty for the heads up]
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Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

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first published: January 26, 2006.

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