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Mormon pioneers established Fruita, Utah as an orchard grove to grow peaches, apricots and plums. Today, the one-room schoolhouse from the early settlement lies inside Capitol Reef National Park. (Photo by Andrew Evans, National Geographic Traveler)

10 Things You Never Knew About UTAH

  1. With 5 iconic National Parks (Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion), Utah ranks third among states with National Parks (California has 9, Alaska, 8). In addition, Utah has 7 National Monuments (Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave, and Hovenweep), as well as 6 National Forests (and 43 state parks)!
  2. Last year, 6.6 million people visited Utah’s National Parks. Aside from North Americans, most of these tourists were French.
  3. More than two-thirds of Utah’s land is owned by the Federal Government.
  4. Jell-O is Utah’s “Official State Snack”, as ordered by the Utah State Senate who passed SR5, “Resolution Urging Jell-O Recognition,” with a vote of 25-3 (who would vote against Jell-O?).
  5. Utah’s state animal is the Rocky Mountain Elk, whose antlers can span up to five feet.
  6. Utah has the largest open-pit mine in the world. Visible from outer space, the Kennecott Copper Mine is nearly a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide. The mind is still in production and it takes trucks more than two hours to drive from the bottom to the top.
  7. On average, 2.6 billion gallons of water evaporates every day from the Great Salt Lake. Though larger than the state of Delaware, the lake rarely gets deeper than 33 feet.
  8. Aside from Hollywood, more Western films have been shot in Kane County, Utah than anywhere else in the world. This includes classics like Pony Express and The Lone Ranger, as well as non-Westerns, like the original and recent remake of Planet of the Apes. As a result, much of the world’s perception of the old American west is in fact, Utah.
  9. Despite its appearance on most maps, Utah’s eastern boundary is NOT an exact straight line. Instead of running true north for from Four Corners to Wyoming, the Utah border skews west about one mile. (19th century survey errors remain between mileposts 81and 89, and 100 and 110.)
  10. Utah granted women the right to vote in 1870, 50 years before the United States Congress ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.