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10 Fast Facts About Utah:
1/ The state flag of Utah (see above) shows a blue background on which is placed a gold circle with the state seal in the center. The blue background is meant to stand for justice, perseverance and vigilance, the beehive represents industry, and the American Eagle symbolizes protection in war and peace. There are also some sego lilies surrounding the beehive (these are the official state flower of Utah) which are meant to represent when starving Mormons ate lily bulbs in order to survive. Right above the beehive you can see the state motto of Utah emblazoned, "Industry", and at the bottom is the date 1847 which refers to the year that Mormons came to the state and below it in bigger letters 1896 which was the year that Utah was admitted to the Union.
2/ The official state tree of Utah is the Blue Spruce, the official state bird is the California Gull and the official state mammal is the Rocky Mountain Elk.
3/ Whilst the power and influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) is still extremely significant in all walks of life in Utah; Utah is actually showing signs that it is becoming 'less Mormon' purely based on the statistics. In Nov 2008 Associated Press carried out research into membership numbers in the Church, and found that the numbers of members of the church as a percentage of all the residents of Utah had declined every year for two decades.
They estimated that in 2008 Mormons made up 60.4% of the population, but that if the downward trend in numbers continued that by 2030 Mormons would make up less than half of Utah's population.
4/ Utah was the second state to grant full voting rights to women in 1870, but in 1872 this was repealed as Congress passed the Edmunds-Tucker Act to try to curtail Mormon influence on the government of the territory. As a result full voting rights for women were not returned again in Utah until the state joined the Union in 1896.
5/ There are currently seven National Monuments in Utah. These are:
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
Timpanogos Cave National Monument
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Hovenweep National Monument
Natural Bridges National Monument
6/ The state of Utah has outlawed ALL forms of gambling, and is one of only two states to have done so (the other being Hawaii).
Accordingly, there is no state lottery in Utah, but despite this fact it is estimated by Gambling Magazine that Utah residents spend more than $6 million dollars annually on Idaho's state lottery; with the two largest sellers of lotto tickets in Idaho both being stores that are located on the Utah/Idaho border.
There are also several Bingo Halls in Utah that have successfully found a loop-hole around the law by charging $25 for a cheap dinner, but then supposedly throwing the bingo in for 'free'.
And as well as online poker players in Utah, when the Salt Lake Tribune investigated they found many underground illegal poker games happening every day in the state.
So whether or not a 'prohibition' on gambling is really working, or is just pushing gambling underground (as it did with alcohol) is a subject for debate.
7/ About 80% of Utah's Legislature are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while they account for 61 percent of the population. Since becoming a state in 1896, Utah has had only two non-Mormon governors.
8/ In 2010 Utah has four cities with populations that exceed 100,000 residents. These are:
Salt Lake City - 186,440
West Valley City - 129,480
Provo - 112,488
West Jordan - 103,712
9/ The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah stretch for over 30,000 acres and have been used as the location for numerous world land speed records. Including the current:
Wheel-Driven Land Speed Record (meaning that jet engines or rockets cannot be used) - The current record was set on Sept 21, 2010 by Charles E. Nearburg at 414.316 mph.
Motorcycle Land-Speed Record - The current record of 376.363 mph was set on the 25 September 2010 by Rocky Robinson
10/ The largest independent cinema festival in the United States, The Sundance Film Festival, is held every year in Utah and has been growing in influence with the passing years. In 2011, 45 films that featured at the festival got distribution deals compared to 14 in 2010.