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More than spuds: Idaho has much to celebrate



Opinion Lorie Palmer 983-1200


David Rauzi

You may love living in Idaho, but what do you really know about the Gem State?

This Friday, March 4, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter kicks off commemoration of Idaho Day, recognizing Abraham Lincoln’s signing the congressional act to make Idaho a territory on March 4, 1863.

The Idaho State Historical Society encourages Idahoans to participate: educate themselves about their state — its special places, heroes and notable events – and also have some fun with posting selfies at their favorite spots or historic points of interest.

Find out more online:

Idaho – and Idaho County — history is good to know, just for its own sake as well as to have a better understanding of how we’ve developed as a group of individuals, shaping out western destiny in the rocky river canyons, its golden prairies and thick forests.

Just in the county alone there are more than two dozen sites on the National Register of Historic Places, some as close as the State Bank of Kooskia or the Blue Fox Theater in Grangeville, others more remote such as Campbell’s Ferry on the Main Salmon or Moose Creek Ranger Station deep in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.

Just for fun, we thought we’d put together a little Idaho trivia, so you can impress the visitors this summer, and perhaps spur your thinking for some warm-weather sight-seeing travel in-state this year.

Across Idaho

• At 5,897 feet elevation, Mackay calls itself the Top of Idaho because it is the nearest city to Mt. Borah, the highest mountain in Idaho.

• Elk River is the home of the Idaho Champion Western Red Cedar Tree, the largest tree in the state. Estimated to be more than 3,000 years old this giant is more than 18 feet in diameter and stands 177 feet tall.

• Shelley has been the home of the Idaho Annual Spud Day since 1927.

• Sun Valley is recognized as the home of America’s first destination ski resort.

• Soda Springs boasts the largest man-made geyser in the world.

Closer to Home

• Grangeville is considered the getaway to five wilderness areas and four national forests totaling 5 and one-half million acres. The total is second only to Alaska in designated wilderness area.

• The Lewis and Clark Highway (U.S. Highway 12) is the shortest route from the Midwest to the Pacific Coast and the longest highway within a national forest in the nation.

• In the Kamiah Valley, among the ancestors of the present day Nez Perce, the Appaloosa horse was first bred, primarily for use as a war animal.

• Hells Canyon is the deepest gorge in America.

• Seven Devils’ Peaks, one of the highest mountain ranges in Idaho; it includes Heaven’s Gate Lookout, where sightseers can look into four states.


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