CascadiaMapCascadia is a term that means many things to different people.

We define Cascadia as a bioregion that defines the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, incorporating British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, parts of Idaho, southern Alaska and northern California – a region that is distinct in many ways from surrounding regions. It is the place we live, a place in the world with unique flora and fauna, topography, geology and is comprised of a interconnected ecosystems and watersheds. We argue for borders which are fluid and dynamic, as well as truly being representative of the people, culture and ecology of the Pacific Northwest.

The idea is also a growing social and cultural movement. It is used to define a unique regional character found within the Pacific Northwest, and extends to a wide range of beers (Cascadia Dark Ale), sports (the Cascadia Cup) and music (Cascadian Black Metal) just to name a few. The idea has since been adopted by a wide range of researchers who highlight the growing importance of regional growth management, environmental planning, economic cooperation, as well as disaster preparedness. Support for the idea also comes from institutions and businesses such as the Bullit Foundations ‘Cascadia Center’, the adoption of the Cascadia Megaregion by federal policy makers, and the tectonic Cascadia Subduction Zone.

A much more common definition of Cascadia instead seeks simply to help further local autonomy, empower individuals and communities to better represent their own needs, as well as push or environmental and economic responsibility, and increased dynamic, transparent and open governance. The Cascadia movement encourages people to reengage with their local communities, develop local and personal resilience (community gardens, disaster preparedness, etc.), and create alternate lines of regional communication, politics, and interdependence that better represent the social, cultural and political boundaries that define our region.

The term Cascadia was adopted in 1970 by Seattle University professor David McCloskey, as a way to better describe our growing regional identity. McCloskey describes Cascadia as “a land of falling waters.” He notes the blending of the natural integrity and the sociocultural unity that gives Cascadia its character. Definitions of the region’s boundaries vary, but usually include the area between the Cascade Range and the Pacific Ocean, and some part of the Coast Mountains. Other definitions follow the boundaries of existing subnational entities, and usually include the territory of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, while others also include parts of California, Idaho, Alaska and Yukon.

In general, the area in and around the Cascadia region is more commonly referred to as the Pacific Northwest. The area’s biomes and ecoregions are distinct from surrounding areas. The resource-rich Salish Sea (or Georgia Basin) is shared between British Columbia and Washington, and the Pacific temperate rain forests, comprising the world’s largest temperate rain forest zone, stretch along the coast from Alaska to California.


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Pacific Northwest (USA and Canada) Regional Rail

Submission – Fantasy Map: Pacific Northwest (USA and Canada) Regional Rail Submitted by opspe, who says: This is my concept for what an integrated regional inter-city rail network in the Northwest could look like, if things had developed that way.  All there is now (regionally) is Cascades, which I ride all the time, but it’s still rather […]

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The Republic of Oregon – 1840-1870

By the 1840’s the term Oregon Country referred to all land from the border with Spanish Mexico (the northern border of California) to the border with the Russian territory in Alaska, from the pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains and by 1843, the most important move towards an independent Pacific Northwest was established with the […]

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The Archipelagos of Cascadia – the future drowned cities of Vancouver, Seattle and Portland

(Click for full size images) The Archipelagos of Cascadia – the future drowned cities of Vancouver, Seattle and Portland by Jeffrey Linn | View all his awesome maps at: The loose confederation of future city-states is slowly taking form: Seattle was the first, and Portland the second in this series of sea level rise […]

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Envision Cascadia: Sustainable Cultural Activities

Envision Cascadia is an interactive online guide that allows users to locate sustainable purchasing options and volunteer opportunities among many other resources – while using “nested” ecosystems of the Cascadia (the Pacific NW) to locate the various resources that they seek and to learn about the culture and ecology of the region. Each location page has […]

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Drafting Cascadia: Mapping the Geography of the Pacific Northwest

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An Introductory Guide Chinook WaWa: Trade Language of the PNW

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The Cascadia Megaregion

The area from Vancouver B.C. down to Portland has been termed an emerging megaregion by the National Committee for America 2050, a coalition of regional planners, scholars, and policy-makers as well as the Canadian and US governments. A megaregion is defined as an area where “boundaries begin to blur, creating a new scale of geography”. These areas have interlocking economic […]

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