The Cascadia Bioregion

The Cascadia Bioregion
The Cascadia Bioregion

“Cascadia is defined as the watersheds of the rivers that flow into the Pacific Ocean through North America’s temperate rainforest zone. Cascadia, or the Pacific Northwest, extends from Northern California to Southern Alaska – along a coastline once cloaked in nearly continuous rainforest – and inland as far as the Continental Divide.”

“In 1970 the term “Cascadia” was adopted by David McCloskey, a Seattle University sociology professor, to describe the region. 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 definition.

McCloskey is the source of the proposed Cascadian boundaries that include the complete watershed of the Columbia River, including the territories of what is now Idaho, western Montana, and smaller parts of Wyoming, Utah, and northern Nevada.

According to McCloskey, this “initial” Cascadia included parts of seven jurisdictions (Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Western Montana, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska), running from the northernmost reaches of Southeast Alaska in the north to Cape Mendocino, California in the south–and covering all the land and “falling waters” from the continental divide at the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. McCloskey, founder of the Cascadia Institute and co‐chair of Seattle University’s New Ecological Studies Program, saw Cascadian identity as something which transcends political or geographic definitions; it is more a cultural, ideological identity.”

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