Summit County has played a pivotal role in the settlement of Utah and the
Western United States being on the route of the first Mormon pioneers as they
made their way to Utah. Summit County, the 13th county in the territory, was
first recognized by the Utah Legislature Friday, January 13, 1854.
The high alpine valleys tucked between the Uinta and Wasatch Mountains served
as traditional hunting grounds for the Shoshone and Ute tribes for thousands of
years, before the arrival of the white man. The natural riches of the mountains
continue to supply much needed water for the area and the Wasatch front from the
numerous mountain springs, four rivers, and two major storage reservoirs at Echo
and Rockport. Minerals from the mines have produced silver, gold, lead and zinc
worth millions of dollars that helped build the state and Intermountain west.
Timber and coal have been an economic resource; however there are no coal mines
currently in operation.
Agriculture has been a prominent industry with irrigated hay fields and
pastures in the valleys. Sheep and cattle are raised in the valleys and utilize
the rangeland in the mountains in the summer. In recent years a new trend in
land ownership has changed the nature of agriculture in some areas from large
scale full-time livestock operations to small 10 to 20 acre properties owned by
retirees and businessmen who value a pastoral lifestyle.