Add wood to the list of products coming out of Utah's Great Salt Lake.
No, the lake does not grow wood. It is not home to a great underwater forest, at least not a living one. It is, though, the address of the historic Lucin Cutoff Railroad Trestle and its tens of millions of board feet of Douglas Fir timbers and piling and Redwood decking. Decades after the trestle was replaced by a solid fill causeway built parallel to it, the wood of the trestle is being reclaimed and reused.
From spike holes in resawn timbers to the unique coloring of flooring produced from "pickled" piling, the wood reclaimed from the trestle bears the stamp of the Great Salt Lake. This wood is now as much a product of the Great Salt Lake as it is of the forests from which it was originally cut.
This article examines the fascinating history of the Great Salt Lake's Lucin Cutoff railroad trestle, from its construction at the beginning of the 1900s to some of the applications that its wood is being used in today. First, though, an effort should be made to put this article into the proper context by briefly describing the situation that preceded the construction of the trestle.