Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The state is named after George Washington, the first President of the United States. As of the 2000 census, the state population was approximately 5.9 million and the state work force numbered about 3.1 million. Residents are called "Washingtonians" (emphasis on the third syllable, pronounced as tone).
It should not be confused with Washington, D.C., the nation's capital city. To avoid confusion, the city is often called simply D.C. and the state is often called Washington state.
Washington is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west; Oregon to the south (the Columbia River forming most of this border); Idaho to the east and British Columbia, Canada to the north. It is famous for scenery of breathtaking beauty and sharp contrasts. High mountains rise above evergreen forests and sparkling coastal waters. Its coastal location and Puget Sound harbors give it a leading role in trade with Alaska, Canada, and the Pacific Rim. Puget Sound's many islands are served by the largest ferry fleet in the United States.
Washington is a land of contrasts. The deep forests of the Olympic Peninsula are among the rainiest places in the world and the only rainforests (such as the Hoh Rain Forest) in the continental United States, but the flat semi-desert that lies east of the Cascade Range stretches for long distances without a single tree. Snow-covered peaks tower above the foothills and lowlands around them. Mount Rainier, the highest mountain in the state, appears to "float" on the horizon southeast of Seattle and Tacoma on clear days. The eastern side of the state can be divided into two regions: the Okanogan Highlands and the Columbia River Basin.
Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:
Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve near Coupeville
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site at Vancouver
Klondike Gold Rush Seattle Unit National Historical Park in Seattle
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area near Stehekin
Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area along the Columbia River
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
Mount Rainier National Park
Nez Perce National Historical Park
North Cascades National Park near Marblemount
Olympic National Park at Port Angeles
Ross Lake National Recreation Area at Newhalem
San Juan Island National Historical Park in Friday Harbor
Whitman Mission National Historic Site at Walla Walla
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