State of the State | Utah
Utah’s name is derived from the Native American Ute tribe, “People of the Mountains.”
The Utah Territory was settled in 1847 as a refuge for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today, about 62 percent of Utahns identify as Mormons.
Utah is home to five national parks—Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef; six national forests—Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-LaSal, Uinta, and Wasatch-Cache; and seven national monuments—Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave, and Hovenweep.
Rainbow Bridge is the world’s largest natural-rock span at 309 feet high and 278 feet wide.
Utah became the nation’s 45th state in 1896, but the federal government still owns about 65 percent of its land.
Utah leads the nation in per-capita consumption of Jell-O, which is appropriately the state’s official snack.
Famous Utahns include outlaw Butch Cassidy, entertainers Donnie and Marie Osmond, actor/director Robert Redford, writer Scott Orson Card, and Frisbee inventor Walter F. Morrison.
Although classified as a “high desert” region with more than 300 days of annual sunshine, Utah has more than 11,000 miles of freshwater fishing streams. In winter, the relatively dry climate produces a powdery precipitation that the state’s thriving ski resorts promote as “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”
Life expectancy in Utah is 80.2 years, higher than the national average of 78.9 years.
U.S. News & World report ranks Utah #2 in the nation for health care quality and the state’s best hospitals as University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, and Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.
Utah was named among the “5 Best States in Which to Retire in 2019” by The Motley Fool for its relatively low taxes, health care access, and natural outdoor recreations.
St. George, located in southwest Utah, ranked as America’s fastest-growing metropolitan area in 2018 and annually hosts the Huntsman World Senior Games.
The Great Salt Lake in Utah covers more than a million acres, but its deepest point is only 34 ft. below the surface and its average depth is just 13 ft. When explorer Jim Bridger “discovered” it in 1824, he initially thought he’d reached the Pacific Ocean.
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