Uintah County, Utah
Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument.
Location within the U.S. state of Utah
Utah's location within the U.S.
|Founded||February 18, 1880|
|Named for||Ute Tribe|
|• Total||4,501 sq mi (11,660 km2)|
|• Land||4,480 sq mi (11,600 km2)|
|• Water||22 sq mi (60 km2) 0.5%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||7.2/sq mi (2.8/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (Mountain)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
Uintah County (// yoo-IN-tə) is a county in the U.S. state of Utah. As of the 2010 United States Census the population was 32,588. Its county seat and largest city is Vernal. The county was named for the portion of the Ute Indian tribe that lived in the basin.
The Vernal, UT Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Uintah County.
Archeological evidence suggests that portions of the Uinta Basin have been inhabited by Archaic peoples and Fremont peoples. By the time of recorded history its inhabitants were the Ute people. The first known traverse by non-Indians was made by Fathers Domínguez and Escalante (1776), as they sought to establish a land route between California and Spanish America.
By the early nineteenth century, occasional fur trappers entered the Basin. In 1831-32 Antoine Robidoux, a French trapper licensed by the Mexican government, established a trading post near present-day Whiterocks. He abandoned the effort in 1844.
In 1847 the Great Salt Lake Valley, still a property of Mexico, was first colonized by Brigham Young and his followers. In 1861 Young dispatched an exploring party to the Uinta Basin; they reported "that section of country lying between the Wasatch Mountains and the eastern boundary of the territory, and south of Green River country, was one vast contiguity of waste and measurably valueless." Young made no further effort to colonize the area.
In 1861 US President Abraham Lincoln created the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, reserved for the use and habitation of Utah and Colorado Indians. In the 1880s the Uncompahgre Reservation was created in the southern portion of present-day Uintah County. Ashley Valley was not part of either Reservation, and by 1880 enough ranchers and farmers had settled there that the Territorial Legislature created Uintah County from portions of Sanpete, Summit, and Wasatch counties. They established the county seat at Ashley, a now-abandoned settlement three miles north of the present courthouse in Vernal.
Uintah County boundaries were altered in 1892 (Grand County created), in 1917 (adjustments with Duchesne and Summit county boundaries), in 1918 (Daggett County created), and in 1919 (the Daggett boundary line was adjusted). It has remained in its present configuration since 1919.
Gilsonite was discovered in 1888 at Bonanza, in central Uintah County. This was on Reservation land, but miners pressured the US government to remove some 7000 acres (11 square miles; 28 km2) for mining use. Mining and its associated activities (including relative lawlessness) rapidly boomed in that area.
The northern boundary of Uintah County originally extended to the north border of Utah. In 1918, the extreme northern portion (lying north of the Uinta Mountain watershed divide) was split off to form Daggett County.
Uintah County lies on the east side of Utah. Its eastern border abuts the western border of the state of Colorado. The Green River flows southwestward through the central part of the county, and forms the lower part of Uintah County's border with Duchesne County. Two miles south of Ouray, Utah, it is joined by the Duchesne River (flowing east-southeastward from Duchesne County), and three miles (5 km) farther down by the White River (flowing west-northwestward from Colorado). Ten miles farther downstream it is joined by Willow Creek, flowing northward from the lower part of the county. The county terrain slopes to the south and to the west, with its highest parts found on the crests of the Uinta Mountains, running east–west across the north border. The maximum elevation along those crests is around 12,276' (3742m). The county has a total area of 4,501 square miles (11,660 km2), of which 4,480 square miles (11,600 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (0.5%) is water.
Uintah County is centered in the Uintah Basin, which runs from western Colorado on the east to the Wasatch Mountains on the west, and from the Uinta Mountains on the north to the Roan Plateau on the south. This basin was formed by a prehistoric lake ("Uinta Lake") during the late Tertiary period.
The county's geography ranges from high mountain terrain (Uinta Mountains) to the fertile Ashley Valley (site of the county seat), to a rugged and desolate canyonland which includes the Dinosaur National Monument, to desolate and largely uninhabited hills in the south ("The Bookcliffs" to locals; officially Roan Plateau).
- Dyer Mine, (copper, gold, silver) , elevation: 9,852 feet (3,003 m) MSL
- Little Water Mine, (coal) , elevation: 6,913 feet (2,107 m) MSL
- Uteland Mine, (coal)  , elevation 4,675 feet (1,425 m) MSL
- Ashley National Forest (part)
- Dinosaur National Monument (part)
- Horseshoe Bend State Park
- Musket Shot Springs Scenic Overlook
- Ouray National Wildlife Refuge
- Point of Pines Recreation Site (part)
- Pot Creek Recreation Site
- Red Fleet State Park
- Sears Canyon Wildlife Management Area
- Steinaker State Park
- Stewart Lake Waterfowl Management Area
- Brough Reservoir
- Crouse Reservoir
- East Park Reservoir
- Long Park Reservoir
- Matt Warner Reservoir
- Oaks Park Reservoir
- Paradise Park Reservoir
- Pelican Lake
- Red Fleet Reservoir
- Steinaker Reservoir
- Stauffer Chemical Tailings Pond North
- Stewart Lake
- Warren Draw
- Zelph Calder Reservoir
|US Decennial Census|
As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 25,224 people, 8,187 households, and 6,541 families in the county. The population density was 5.63/sqmi (2.17/km2). There were 9,040 housing units at an average density of 2.02/sqmi (0.78/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 87.73% White, 0.11% Black or African American, 9.38% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.05% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. 3.54% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,187 households, out of which 44.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.70% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.10% were non-families. 17.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.05 and the average family size was 3.45.
The county population contained 34.60% under the age of 18, 10.70% from 18 to 24, 25.40% from 25 to 44, 19.30% from 45 to 64, and 9.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 99.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $34,518, and the median income for a family was $38,877. Males had a median income of $33,966 versus $21,199 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,571. About 12% of families and 15% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18% of those under age 18 and 10% of those age 65 or over.
The extraction of natural resources including oil, natural gas, phosphate, and gilsonite constitute primary economic activity of Uintah County. There is some agriculture in Uintah County, primarily focusing on raising cattle and sheep, and cultivating alfalfa.
A significant portion of west Uintah County is taken up by the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. The Ute Tribe's headquarters is in Fort Duchesne. Much of the rest of the county is land owned by the Ashley National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management. There is relatively little private land in the county.
Discovery of significant dinosaur and other pre-historic remains on the eastern edge of the county caused nationwide interest, which culminated in establishment of Dinosaur National Monument. In addition to the large Visitor Center at the Monument's Jensen site, a natural history museum, the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum, showcasing some of the area's finds, was established in Vernal by the State of Utah.
Located in southeastern Vernal, the Vernal Regional Airport provides daily scheduled air service to Denver, Colorado via Denver International Airport. Service is provided through United Express, operated by Skywest airlines. Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) service is available.
The Games, Animations, and More Convention (GAM) (formerly Games, Anime, and More (G.A.M.)), a biannual fan convention, is a multi-genre convention having retro video games (such as those for classic Nintendo and SEGA video game consoles), semi-contemporary video games (such as those for the Xbox 360 video game console), card games, cartoons, superhero costumes, miniatures, tournaments, tabletop gaming, and other gaming and "nerd culture" activities.
The GAM Convention is typically held once or more per year in Uintah County. In 2015 it was the first anime convention held in Vernal as well as the first video gaming convention held there, making it the first convention of its type in Vernal. In 2016 it was held in Naples for the first time, making GAM the first convention of its type in the city of Naples. It has previously been sponsored by Showalter Ford, a local vehicle dealership.
Since 1896 when Utah was admitted to The Union, Uintah County has voted for the Democratic presidential nominee eight times: twice from 1896 to 1900; once in 1916; and five times from 1932 to 1948. Only once has the majority voted for a "third party" candidate, that being Theodore Roosevelt in 1912. Since 1948, like most of Utah, Uintah County has trended powerfully Republican.
- Fantasy Canyon
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Uintah County, Utah
- Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- "Annual natural gas production in MCF by the top 7 producing counties in Utah" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 7, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2010.
- In his diary Escalante called the basin "a fine plain abounding in pasturage and fertile, arable land, provided it were irrigated."
- Newberry Library. Individual County Chronologies/Uintah County UT (accessed March 26, 2019)
- Fuller, Craig (1994), "Uintah County", in Powell, Allan Kent (ed.), Utah History Encyclopedia, Salt Lake City UT: University of Utah Press, ISBN 0874804256, OCLC 30473917, archived from the original on October 10, 2013
- Uintah County UT Google Maps (accessed 26 March 2019)
- Highest Peaks in Uintah Counties (accessed 26 March 2019)
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Western Mining History
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved October 4, 2019.
- "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). US Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Home. Ute Indian Tribe". www.utetribe.com. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
- It was authorized in 1946 and opened to the public in 1948.
- Best, Liberty (August 18, 2015). "First anime convention held in Vernal". Vernal Express. Uintah Basin Media. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
- Leip, David. "Atlas of US Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
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