WASHINGTON D.C. (ABC4) — A performing group from Utah petitioned for the Great Salt Lake to become a New National Park by dancing on the White House lawn on Friday.

The group performed the Native American hoop dance, which they said embodies the spirit of the Great Salt Lake, and is a plea to the U.S. government to preserve the lake’s environment.

“Through its movements, it represents the natural beauty and importance of water in sustaining life,” said Michael Goedel, one of the performers. “The hoop dance flows like the water of the Great Salt Lake, smooth and continuous,” said Terry Goedel, Michael’s father, and one of the performers. 

The event was presented by a group of Brigham Young University students and environmental activists in support of creating a new national park in Utah to preserve the Great Salt Lake. According to a recent survey conducted by BYU students, creating the national park has nearly 67% bipartisan support in Utah.

According to the press release, they presented compelling research to the U.S. Dept. of the Interior and members of Congress this week. They also alleged that the national park would bring in millions of dollars in economic benefits to the state.

The initiative aims to help protect the Great Salt Lake as it has been shrinking rapidly due to drought and overuse of water, the press release states.

“We have a unique opportunity to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake by creating a new national park in Utah,” said Isabella Hwang, one of the student representatives from Brigham Young University. “Not only will this help conserve the lake, but it will also bring in significant economic benefits to the state.”

The performers also advocated for Native Americans to have a say in the decision. The press release said they wanted to ensure that their invaluable knowledge, traditions, and voices are integrated into the preservation efforts.

“The Great Salt Lake holds immense value for Native American communities in Utah, serving as a sacred resource and a testament to hundreds of years of heritage,” the press release stated.