Facts about Idaho Everyone Should Know

    Hello All! This month I thought it would be fun to explore some interesting facts about Idaho you may have not heard. In fact, there are a few facts I hadn’t heard before either! Without further ado we’ll start off with one everyone knows…
     Idaho’s official nickname is the Gem State. But, did you know some 72 different precious and semi-precious gemstones have been found in Idaho? One of the is the star garnet. It’s only found in abundance in two places in the world: Idaho and India.
     The Gem State is bigger than all of New England combined! Of course, the New England states consist of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. That’s a lot of territory!
     Most people know that Idaho’s state horse is the Appaloosa. Did you know that it was brought over by the Spaniards in the 1700s and embraced by the Nez Perce tribe? If you did, how about this nugget of information? Settlers who moved into the area called these spotted equines “Palouse horses” after the Palouse River.
      Here’s a little something about the famous “Idaho Potato”. In 1836 Henry Harmon Spalding brought the potato to Lapwai, Idaho and taught the Nez Perce tribe how to grow them. Something you may not know is that the Nez Perce tribe were the first to cultivate and sell the spuds in the area.
     If you’re rich enough to own or even rent a sail boat you can sail from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho (or vice-versa) via the Snake and Columbia Rivers. You’ll finish or start in Lewiston, the farthest inland port on the west coast.
     Everyone thinks the Grand Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America. Even I thought this fact was true but found out that Hells Canyon is 7993 feet deep, whereas the Grand Canyon is only 6000 feet deep. That’s almost 2000 feet deeper!
  Which brings me to the next fact. On September 8, 1974, Even Knievel rolled into Twin Falls with the intent to jump the Snake River Canyon. This daredevil mounts a rocket-powered motorcycle and was launched high in the sky to cross the 500 ft tall, quarter mile wide gorge.

     Unfortunately, Knievel’s safety chute deployed prematurely, spiraling him and his rocket powered motorcycle out of control. His luck held true, because he landed on the edge of the river compared to what could have been a watery grave, and he escaped with just a broken nose. Did you know two miles west of the jump site, his legacy lives on at a gravestone-like monument where Evel’s fans come to pay homage.

     Another fact I didn’t know is that Idaho is NOT tornado free. Most people believe that that mountainous terrain keeps us safe from these swirling vortexes, but that isn’t the case. Every year, a dozen or so funnels touch the ground but don’t cause enough damage to attract attention.

     Next on our fun fact list is the Idaho State Capitol building – the only one in the US heated by geothermal energy. The heat comes from hot springs located 3000 feet underground. AMAZING!

     And finally on our fun fact list…drum roll please….Idaho has the most neutral dialect of any state in the country, with no discernible accent or state specific language quirks.  On top of that, Idaho is the testing ground for nearly every survey and language product on the market, as well a telemarketers central.
     I hope you enjoyed our adventure through Idaho as much as I have. If you know a unique fact about Idaho drop me a line at james@dacnw.org.  Until then…be safe!