The Salton Sea was originally expected to become the next Palm Springs -- but with a large lake to provide numerous water recreation activities: boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, sailing, and more.
Around the Sea, yacht clubs, marinas, and hotels were built.
Master planned communities were slated. Water, sewer, and power lines were laid. Streets were paved and street signs installed.
People bought empty lots -- in hopes of the land rapidly increasing in value. After all, how could waterfront property NOT be a great investment?
Things were looking great for the Salton Sea...
...until the salinity of the water began rising to unnatural levels. The unnatural salt level of the water began killing the fish -- hundreds of thousands of dead fish began washing ashore.
In addition to the stench of the dead fish, algae blooms would choke the water, die off, and make the stench even worse.
In 1976, Hurricane Kathleen caused flooding and other damage to the area.
Since then, many buildings around the Sea have been abandoned and continue to decay.
Nowadays, the Sea is like a swimming pool without any functioning circulation pumps or filters. There is no (correction 1/2/2012) _sufficient_ source of fresh water flowing into the sea -- so the water remains stagnant.
Several ideas for saving the Salton Sea have been devised, but nobody has been able to secure sufficient funding to implement any restoration plans.
Despite all the decay seen here, there are still many residents that remain in the town of Bombay Beach. The locals are nice people. You can visit this area -- even at nighttime -- without fear of getting robbed or attacked.
Be sure to stay and check out the awesome sunsets here at Bombay Beach.
And finally, the stench that used to linger around the Sea is really NOT that bad these days. While one still sees some dead fish here and there, the massive fish die-offs haven't occurred in several years now.
If you venture further north along the east side of the Sea, you can check out the newly-renovated North Shore Beach & Yacht Club.
Visit saltonseamuseum.org for more information.
Grand reopening of the Salton Sea History Museum. Now located at 72-120 S. Lincoln Street (end of road across creek), Mecca, CA 92254
News video: kesq.com/video/30403959/index.html
Facebook page: facebook.com/pages/Salton-Sea-History-Museum/125597164130869
Palm Springs-by-the-Sea it is not. That slogan belonged to a vintage advertising campaign, glimpsed in "Bombay Beach," for a waterside paradise on the edge of the Salton Sea in the southern California desert. In the 1950s and '60s, this 385-square-mile body of water, created in 1905 when the rampaging Colorado River spilled over its banks, became a celebrity magnet and tourist destination. But its vogue quickly faded.
Music by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Salton Sea was recently featured on Life After People on the History Channel.
I have several hundred Salton Sea photos - including many of what is seen in this video - on my Flickr page at flickr.com/photos/slworking/sets/72157605264326878/