Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest today inspires a strong spirit of environmentalism, eco-friendly and healthy outdoor lifestyles, and lively internationalism and commerce, owing to its environmental richness and geographic advantages. It is a diverse geographic region, dominated by several mountain ranges, including the Coast Mountain, the Cascade Range, the Olympia Mountains, the Columbia Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. The Columbia River cuts a deep and wide gorge around the Columbia Plateau and through the Cascade Range, on its way to the Pacific Ocean. Because of its plentiful rainfall, the region has some of North America's most lush and extensive forests. Abundant fisheries in the region once gave rise to the most sophisticated hunter-gatherer Native American communities. The major cities of Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma all began as seaports supporting the logging, mining and farming industries of the region, but have developed into major technological and industrial centers (such as the Silicon Forest), thriving creative and cultural centers, as well as fertile ground for the conservation and new energy movements.