One of the most scenic states in the country, Colorado has recreational parks including Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park with its narrow gorge cut by the Gunnison River, Dinosaur National Monument in NW Colorado, and Great Sand Dunes National Monument in South Central Colorado. Mesa Verde National Park and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, once home to the Anasazi cliff dwellers, are in the southwestern corner of the state, a beautiful but formidable area of mesas and canyons.
Agriculture, especially the raising of cattle and sheep and production of dairy goods, is economically important in the state. Crops include wheat, hay, corn, and sugar beets. Since the 1950s manufacturing has been the major source of income in the state. Food processing is a major industry; others include the manufacture of computer equipment, aerospace products, transportation equipment, and electrical equipment; printing and publishing; and the production of fabricated metals, chemicals, and lumber. Federal facilities including army and air force bases, prisons, and the Denver Mint, as well as regional offices, contribute greatly to the economy. A new $4 billion international airport opened near Denver in Feb., 1995.
Tourism plays a vital role in Colorado's economy. The state's climate, scenery, historical sites, and extensive recreational facilities bring millions of visitors annually. Numerous resorts in towns such as Vail and Aspen attract visitors year-round as well as during ski season. Besides fine hunting, fishing, and skiing there are many special events held in the state, including arts festivals, rodeos, and fairs.
Area: 104,247 sq mi (270,000 sq km).
Pop: (2000) 4,301,261, a 30.6% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital and largest city: Denver.
Nickname: Centennial State.
Motto: "Nil Sine Numine" [Nothing without Providence].
State bird: Lark Bunting.
State flower: Rocky Mountain Columbine.
State tree: Colorado Blue Spruce.
*Information from Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition