Utah, the Crossroads of the West, became the forty-fifth of the United States in 1896. At 84,916 square miles, Utah is the thirteenth largest state, but has one of the least dense populations. Early settlers to Utah include mountain men, adventurers, scientists, and Mormons persecuted for their religion. The headquarters of the Mormon Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is in Salt Lake City. The geography of Utah is 33 per cent true desert, 40 per cent steppes, three per cent humid continental, and 24 per cent mountainous. Of the numerous mountain ranges in Utah, the only mountain peaks greater than 13,000 feet are in the Uinta Mountains, and there are twenty-four.
Utah’s largest lake, the Great Salt Lake, has a length of 74.56 miles, an area of 1,699 square miles, and is the largest salt-water lake in the Western Hemisphere. Famous Utah residents include outlaw Robert Leroy Parker (otherwise known as Butch Cassidy), firearms designer John M. Browning, inventor of the television Philo T. Farnsworth, founder of Atari Games and the Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza-Time Theatres chain Nolan Bushnell, inventor of the Zamboni machine Frank Zamboni, and comedian Roseanne Barr. Oh, and Utah also has flying reptiles.