Miscellaneous Official State and Territory Designations
Every state in the union has found it desirable to recognize officially some special symbols that have a unique importance. These legislative actions have largely been phenomena of the past thirty years. Often such official designations recognize the importance of an industry to a particular state. Florida, for example, designated orange juice as its official beverage. Tomato juice is Ohio's state beverage and cranberry juice, Massachusetts'. Wisconsin's official domestic animal is the dairy cow. On the other hand, an official designation may also bring with it special protection for an endangered species. Georgia's and Massachusetts' right whale, California's gray whale, Alaska's bowhead whale, and Florida's manatee received protection as officially designated state marine mammals.
Some designated symbols recall the early history of a state. Gold is the state mineral of California and Alaska. Dog mushing is Alaska's state sport. The American buffalo is the state animal of Kansas, and Plymouth Rock is Massachusetts' historical rock. Other symbols cannot be considered without recalling the state with which they have become identified: Alaskan king salmon, the California grizzly bear, Indiana limestone, Louisiana's crawfish, and Maine's moose.
Whether animals, vegetables, or minerals or even reptiles, mammals, or neckwear, each state expresses its unique character through the symbols it chooses.