Uintah County is a county located in the U.S. state of Utah. As of 2000 the population was 25,224 and by 2009 was estimated at 31,536. It was named for the Ute Indians, the tribe that lives in the basin. Its county seat and largest city is Vernal. Located just outside Vernal, the Vernal-Uintah County Airport provides daily scheduled air service to Denver, Colorado. There is no air service from Uintah County to the Utah state capitol in Salt Lake City. Uintah County is the largest natural gas producer in Utah, with 272 billion cubic feet produced in 2008.
Archeologic 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 Dominguez 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 "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 (most of which had previously been part of Wasatch County, with the county seat at Ashley (now an abandoned area some three miles (5 km) of present-day Vernal).
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 kmē) 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, Utah. - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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