The Pacific Northwest - Arizona Geographic Alliance

The Pacific
Physical Geography
• Topography
– The Coast Ranges-Oregon and Washington
• Reach elevations of 4,000 feet
• Responsible for the rain shadow effect
– Further inland, rugged Cascades
• Extend north into British Columbia
• Merge with the Insular Mountains = Coast Mountains
Crater Lake, OR
Physical Geography
• Mt. McKinley: the region's northern
– 20,320 feet in elevation
• The St. Elias Mountains in Canada are the
world's highest coastal mountains
– Mt. Logan = 19,700 feet!
Physical Geography
• Climate
– Heaviest annual precipitation on continent!
– Average precipitation >75 inches/year
• West = ~150 inches/year
• Parts of Vancouver Island ~ 230 inches/year
– Winter precipitation > summer
– Microclimates, but Maritime (Cfb & Cfc)
Historical Settlement
• Native Americans
– Pre-European population = large
– Based on a simple hunting and gathering
– Large concentrations along the coast and
coastal valleys
– The Puyallups are one of the few remaining
Historical Settlement
• Early Europeans
– Russians 1st!
• Initially during late 1700s; Mainly fur-trading posts
– 1846: US/Canadian boundary @ 49 North
• Post 1846
– Alaska purchased from Russia (1867) for $7.2
– Railroads
– Asian
– Latinos
Primary Sector Activities
• Most crops grown for local markets
• Production areas: Willamette Valley, Puget Sound
Lowlands, Yakima and Wenatchee Valley, Hill Country
Willamette River and Valley
• British Columbia = 45% of Canada's
• CA, OR, WA = ~50% of US timber
• First major industry, but not nationally
important until the early 1900s
• “Selective cutting,” “shelterwood cutting,”
and “clear cutting”
– Redwood National Park, 1960s, for
• Japan = major market
Power and Dams
• High precipitation and rugged topography
= great hydroelectric potential
• Rivers in OR & WA = > 40% of the US’s
hydroelectric potential
• Columbia River dam: greatest power
generating potential
• Grand Coulee = largest
• Cheap power attracts heavy power-using
industries to the region
• No dams are permitted in Hell’s Canyon
(along Snake River gorge)
Tertiary & Quaternary Sectors
• Services, tourism, and high-technology industry
buttress Primary & Secondary sectors
– Microsoft
– Starbucks
– Boeing
• Places in the Pacific Northwest
– Vancouver, BC
– Seattle, WA
– Portland, OR
• Alaska
– Next lecture!
Seattle, WA from Space Needle
OR andBC
Mt. Hood
Readings & Resource
• Anderson, Kay J. 1987. “The Idea of Chinatown:
The Power of Place and Institutional Practice in
the Making of a Racial Category,” Annals of the
Association of American Geographers 77: 580–
– A great sense of place article based in Western
Canada’s largest city.
• Ley, David. 1999. “Myths and Meanings of
Immigration and the Metropolis,” Canadian
Geographer 43:2–18.
– David does a brilliant job assessing and analyzing
immigration as only a geographer could.
• Presentation: David Fronander, Biogeographer.
Salmon and the Pacific Northwest.
Given its relative isolation from the rest of
the country, how does the Pacific
Northwest continue to thrive? Is this an
exclusive behavior?
How does Oregon’s motto, Alis Volat Propiis
(She Flies with Her Own Wings) reflect the
region’s sense of place?
Related Books
• Ashbaugh, James G., ed. 1997. The
Pacific Northwest: Geographical
Perspectives. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall
Hunt Publishing Company.
• Meinig, D.W. 1968. The Great Columbian
Plain: A Historical Geography, 1805–1910.
Seattle: University of Washington Press.
– Regional geography doesn’t get much better
than Meinig.
• Earthquake and Geologic Hazard Information:
– Oregon and Washington
– Alaska
– Interactive Real-time Earthquakes!
• Cascadia Times Newspaper
• Pacific Northwest Outdoor Recreation
• City of Vancouver, Canada