The Washington State Parks Include A Number Located On Islands In Puget Sound Where Whales Can Often Be Seen
There are 127 amazing state parks in Washington which is located on the Pacific Coast, in the north western part of the United States. To its south lies Oregon while to the north is Canada.
One of the Washington State Parks is Peace Arch State Park which actually straddles the American and Canadian border.
Named after the first President, George Washington, the state is the only one named in honor of a president.
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Peace Arch State Park On The American, Canadian Border
It shouldn`t be confused with the country`s capital, Washington, District of Columbia.
In fact when the state applied for statehood they asked that it be called Columbia. However, the authorities decided that this name could be confused with the District of Columbia.
They therefore decided on the name Washington which didn`t resolve the chances of confusion at all.
The Washington State Parks system began in 1913 when a Board of Park Commissioners was created. The first two parks were formed in 1915 on land which had been donated to the state. Since that beginning the number of parks continued to increase and by the 1960`s there were over 130.
The system of state parks in Washington has proved to be a great success with many of the parks being extremely popular. Deception Pass State Park, for example, receives over two million visitors a year.
Deception Pass State Park
The geography of Washington is shaped by two major features. The first is Puget Sound, a vast tidal inlet of the Pacific Ocean studded with many islands.
One group of islands, the San Juan`s is particularly interesting and there are a number of the Washington State Parks located here. They include Blind Island State Park, Patos Island State Park, Stuart Island State Park, Sucia Island State Park and Lime Kiln Point State Park on the western shore of San Juan Island. This is a superb spot for watching whales which often come close in to the shore .
If you would like to learn more about this truly wonderful region then Simply-San-Juan is a superb resource with stacks of information.
Shallow Bay At Sucia Island State Park In The San Juan Islands
Of course, there are islands in Puget Sound other than those of the San Juan group. Some of the state parks in Washington are to be found on them and on the shores of the Sound.
The second major feature of the state of Washington is the Cascade Mountain Range. This runs in a north to south direction and effectively cuts the state into two halves. Lake Wenatchee State Park and Wallace Falls State Park are a couple of examples of the Washington State Parks located in these beautiful mountains.
The Cascade Mountains actually cause a phenomenon called a "rainshadow." This is where an area of the state to the east of the mountains receives very little rainfall and is semi-arid with portions being almost desert-like.
The Cascades also contain several volcanoes. Mount St. Helens is remembered for its eruption in 1980 which killed 57 people. However, although not erupting, the others are still considered to be active. They include Mount Baker, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier Surrounded By Typical Washington Scenery
In fact Mount Rainier is considered to be the most dangerous volcano in mainland America because of its proximity to the large metropolitan area of Seattle.
In addition to the Cascade Range, Washington has a number of other mountains. The most notable are in the Olympic Mountains on a peninsula the western part of the state, the Blue Mountains in the south east and the Kettle River Range in the north east.
Much of the border between Washington and Oregon to the south follows the course of the Columbia River. One of the notable Washington State Parks found here is Beacon Rock State Park.
Beacon Rock State Park In The Columbia River Gorge
The Beacon Rock stands 848 feet high beside the water as it flows through the Columbia River Gorge. Lewis and Clark made note of it when they journeyed past in 1805.
Whichever one of the Washington State Parks you are lucky enough to visit, the scenery and wildlife is incredible!Here is a list of Washington State Parks
This is a map of the state of Washington