As a thank you, Tribune reporting is free this week

Here are a few of Editor Lauren Gustus’ favorite stories from the past few months.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Water Canyon High School football players prepare to face Grand County in their school's first football game, in Hildale on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022.

This week, we’re making Tribune journalism accessible to all, as a thank you to our readers.

Reporters, photographers and editors have done fantastic work during the past year. They shared important accountability stories on K-12 education in Utah, local and state politics, church land ownership and more. They dug in on housing affordability and water availability. They celebrated the natural beauty of our state and they even told us about the worst drive-throughs in the valley.

I hope you read these or other stories and then share them with family and friends and, even better, have a conversation about where you get your news.

While our stories are free to read this week, they aren’t free to produce. This week we are asking you to consider making a donation here or on Venmo @sltrib.

I’m proud of the journalism our team has published this year and eager to share it with others. If you’re looking for advice on what to read, here are a few of my favorites from the last few months.

Historically polygamous community in Utah holds its first-ever high school school football game

All sports were banned in Hildale, a secluded desert community in southern Utah, until just a few years ago. Reporter Courtney Tanner and photographer Trent Nelson share take us with them to the first Friday night lights in a town that was once a stronghold of the polygamous Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints.

What’s next for Lake Powell?

The front page of The Salt Lake Tribune Sunday, August 28, 2022.

Tribune videographers, photographers and reporters in August examined how Lake Powell is changing. We found that as the water recedes, previously buried landscapes are reemerging. We told you how the man who built Glen Canyon Dam later sketched its demise on a napkin. And we updated you on future of the Lake Powell Pipeline.

You can read all of these stories here.

Is the future of energy sitting below this small Utah town?

Clean energy reporter Tim Fitzpatrick took us miles below the surface of the Earth in Milford, Utah, for this story, making one of the world’s most promising geothermal energy projects easy to understand.

He writes:

The crushing force of gravity compacts the earth to the point where its molten metal center is 9,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Even thousands of miles out near the surface, the temperature is still hundreds of degrees.

In some places, that heat reaches the surface, either as lava flowing up through volcanic vents, or as steaming water bubbling up in hot springs. In those places, humans have been using geothermal energy since the dawn of time. But what if we could drill down into the rock and, in essence, create our own hot spring?

The Great Salt Lake’s ecological collapse has begun

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Drought conditions have left many shallow ponds dry. The hope is that they are once again filled for the benefit of shorebirds at Gillmor Sanctuary on the Great Salt Lake's South Shore.

Utahns don’t need to look far to see why the Great Salt Lake is worth fighting for. Reporter Leia Larsen recently published a troubling story about how brine flies, which provide a nutrient-rich feast for millions of migrating birds, are disappearing. Scientists say it’s a sign the lake’s ecological demise is here.

The Tribune shared this story through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a group of 17 media organizations focused on challenges we face at the lake and on elevating potential solutions. Following her reporting, policymakers reached out to the biologist who was featured so they could learn more about what they might do to help.

Thanks as always for reading. As a community resource, we’re here because you choose to support us.

You can donate during The Tribune’s year-ending campaign by clicking on this link.

Lauren Gustus is Executive Editor of the nonprofit Salt Lake Tribune.