Thinking of the Pacific Northwest region of the US inevitably points you to Washington State. Today, the state is home to over 7 million people, with close to 60 percent of the residents living in the Seattle Metropolitan area.
Before European colonization, native tribes inhabited the area now called Washington. In fact, the Kennewick Man, the 9,000-year Paleoamerican and “the most important human skeleton ever found in North America”, was unearthed in Kennewick, Washington. First European explorers landed on the Washington coast in 1774. In 1889, the area gained statehood and became a whole participant in the United States with Olympia as its capital.
The Cascade Range mountains, running north-south, divide the state into Western and Eastern Washington. The “Westside” has mostly marine climate with mild temperatures and abundant winter rainfall. It is home to five active volcanoes, including Mt. Rainier which is also the tallest mountain in the state. In contrast to Western Washington, the “Eastside” has a drier climate. It’s home to the rolling hills, semi-arid steppe, and desert areas.
Washington consistently ranks in the top five among the nation’s greenest states. It is truly one of those states where you can go outside without worrying about the quality of the air you breathe. The state’s residents continuously strive to reduce their carbon footprint by using energy-efficient lighting, participating in recycling and composting programs, using environmentally-friendly cleaning products. The state has also been promoting alternative methods of transportation. In fact, Washington is continuously being named as the most bicycle-friendly state in the nation by the League of American Bicyclists.
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