Chapter 1


The Place



The current political boundaries of Utah encompass various bio and cultural regions. Utah’s three physiographic provinces—Central Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and the Basin and Range—contain a wide variety of landforms and landscapes: valleys, peaks, gorges, deserts, lakes. The Wasatch and other mountain ranges are products of earth movements, block faulting, and surface erosion. Sevier Lake, Utah Lake, and the Great Salt Lake are remnants of the sprawling ancient Lake Bonneville. These natural features are not merely the stage upon which Utah history plays but active forces that have affected life in the state.