Guest Column: Cali imports clog Utah for good reason

Everyone in the state of California seems to be packing their bags and heading out to the playgrounds of Utah. I cannot tell you how often I am out and about and run into someone from the Golden State.

California has held a certain mystique to the uninitiated, seeing people uproot their simple lives and head west, seeking fame and fortune. Ever since the ages of the Gold Rush in the 1850s and the droves of women trying to make it famous in the golden age of Hollywood expansion in the mid-1940s, people have seen fit to try and make it big in California. Up until recently.

People are now leaving the state and heading back east, looking for the simple life and trying to get away from the state that refuses to stop growing. At parties you hear men trying to seduce women with their illustrious tales of a childhood spent in the Golden State. When walking at school, sweatshirts adorned with the state’s likeness and hats featuring the state’s iconic grizzly bear abound. It seems as if everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Why, then, are so many Californian kids in Utah?

Could it be that the average cost per year for attending a public university with in-state tuition is $29,000, according to the University of California’s website? Or that, according to, California, as of October, has 1.6 million people on unemployment, which is over half the population of Utah? Or is it that those who desire more for less simply know there is a whole vast nation full of possibilities?

As an import from California, I am inclined to think it is a combination of those factors and a whole lot more. People frequently ask me how Utah compares and are shocked to hear that I love it here and couldn’t be happier — that California is dirty, crowded and overpriced, without the opportunities that are afforded here.

Anything I want to do in Utah is a 30-minute drive away. I can go hiking, boating or fishing with my friends, go shooting at a range or just out in the hills, and I can even hunt without paying through the nose for a tag, and all this at little or no cost. Not to mention the two world-class ski resorts, just a nice canyon drive away, that feature some of the best snow in the world.

People from this state often take for granted what they have because they simply don’t know any better. They take a trip to California and see the beach packed with people and its frigid waters and think, “Oh, this must be a bad day,” when in reality that is every day. The lakes are crowded, far and expensive, and the snow is manmade garbage that makes Wolf Mountain on a bad day look top-tier, and unless you’re traveling at 3 in the morning, regardless of where you’re going, expect to hit traffic. A lot of it.

Utah is the undiscovered outdoor wonderland of America. Colorado may grab the world’s attention, but for those in the know, Utah is where the action is.

Moab grabs your attention with its arch and expansive red rock that stretches for miles, offering pristine terrain for the off-road enthusiast. St. George offers culture and top-class climbing with its proximity to Zion National Park. Park City gives visitors the resort-town vibe they desire for a ski mecca, and Ogden pulls off a small-town vibe while still being the third-largest city in the state, and offers two world-class ski resorts. And Salt Lake provides the culture and night life that attract people to city centers.

Utah gets a bad rap because of its strong LDS presence, but that presence is part of what makes the state so welcoming and its people so friendly. Give Utah a chance.