Salton Sea Beach-Vision of the Apocalypse

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Set in a stark and barren landscape in the deserts of Southern California the Salton Sea was created by an environmental disaster in 1905 when the Colorado River overflowed its banks and flowed across the desert and into the Salton Sink, a prehistoric lakebed. By the time the river was contained, nearly two years later, the lake covered an area of about 376 square miles. Today, another environmental disaster is killing the lake along with the dreams of those who live there.

The Salton Sea became a tourist attraction during the 1920’s because of its recreational boating, sport fishing, and abundant waterfowl and had some success as a resort area during the 1950’s with places such as Salton Sea Beach and Bombay Beach being developed but by the 1960’s it was clear that the lake was in trouble. Because it has no outlet and has three rivers flowing into it, one of which is considered the most polluted river in the United States, the salinity and toxicity levels of the lake started rising killing off waterfowl and many of the species of fish that were introduced in the 1930’s. Today only Tilapia thrives and even they suffer from frequent die-offs where millions of dead fish cover the shoreline and rot in the desert heat. The white beaches at the Salton Sea aren’t made of sand but of the crushed skeletons of the fish. There are several communities that have been built up around the lake but today they are largely deserted with only a few hardy souls hanging on. It is a sad, surreal place. But there is serenity to it also, with its quiet waters, dramatic skies, stark landscape, and, everywhere, the detritus of civilization and of broken dreams glowing in the soft light of days end.

Salton Sea Beach is on the western shore of the Salton Sea about an hour’s drive south of Palm Springs, California, off of Highway 86. There are limited facilities at the lake including, gas, food, lodging, and camping but nothing at Salton Sea Beach itself. Call ahead if you plan on visiting; it can get awfully smelly at times.

written by kdstevens on 2009-09-30 in #world #locations #salton-sea #lomo-lc-a #salt-lake #abandoned-resorts #environmental-disaster #polution #diana-f #abandoned-marina #abandoned-trailers #southern-california #holga-120s #dead-fish #desert-lake

14 Comments

  1. disdis
    disdis ·

    great and sad location!

  2. planetape2001
    planetape2001 ·

    What a perfect shot of despair!

  3. planetape2001
    planetape2001 ·

    incredible!

  4. lomosexual_manboy
    lomosexual_manboy ·

    This was gonna be one of my LCA race locations up until the very last minute. The Salton Sea is rad. Cool shots.

  5. stouf
    stouf ·

    The squares are gorgeous !

  6. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    love ur' squares - keep it up, @kdstevens!

  7. -a-l-b-e-r-t-o-
    -a-l-b-e-r-t-o- ·

    wonderful!

  8. anarchy
    anarchy ·

    Excellent!!!!

  9. majorted
    majorted ·

    Such wonderful yet freaky shots! Very nice! Heres a little video accompaniment to these pics: www.vbs.tv/watch/toxic/toxic-imperial-valley-1-of-2

  10. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    A sad story, but a beautiful playground for lomographers ! I'd like to go there to shoot thiose ruined trailers ! Great gallery !

  11. zulupt
    zulupt ·

    Great Location!!!

  12. isabelbatteria
    isabelbatteria ·

    Sad, wonderful place. I love the way it is written, also.

  13. ecchymoses
    ecchymoses ·

    amazing shots !

  14. devrimarie
    devrimarie ·

    so many amazing pictures, and lots of terrific info, thank you so much! i am totally visiting next year....

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