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© Don Jacobson

Cascadia

Basic Facts of Cascadia

Cascadia is a lush and diverse landscape often defined by the sweeping Cascades mountain range of the Pacific Northwest. But it’s so much more that.

Cascadia’s marine waters, forests, mountains, rivers, and high deserts come together to form a beautifully interconnected and complex ecoregion that stretches from northern California to southern Alaska, encompassing all of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. From the Pacific coast, to the Cascade crest, to sagebrush steppe, Cascadia is home to some of the wildest landscapes in the lower 48 states, providing crucial habitat for numerous imperiled species.

The region’s iconic southern resident orcas call the urban marine environment of the Salish Sea their home in the summer and fall. In the winter, they migrate south along the coast, in search of Chinook salmon returning to the rivers of Oregon and California.

Gray wolves, once absent from the landscape, now traverse wide territories in Idaho and the forested landscapes in eastern Washington and Oregon. As the population recovers and continues its westward expansion, the Cascade mountain range may once again echo with the distinctive howl of our native wolves. 

Grizzly bears once roamed throughout the forests of Cascadia. Today, only two small populations can be found in the region: one in the Selkirk Mountains of eastern Washington and northern Idaho, and another in the North Cascades. These remote and rugged mountains contain some of the best grizzly bear habitat in the country and represent some of the best opportunities to recover this icon of the Pacific Northwest.

The magnificent old growth forests of the Pacific coast provide refuge for rare bird species like the spotted owl and marbled murrelet. And the coniferous forests and alpine habitat of the North Cascades provide an ideal refuge for small populations of rare forest carnivores, like lynx, wolverines and fishers.