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Washington was admitted to the Union as the 42nd state in 1889. Washington was named after George Washington, the first President of the United States, and is the only U.S. state named after a president.

Washington is part of a region known as the Pacific Northwest, a term which always includes Washington and Oregon and may or may not include Idaho, western Montana, northern California, and part or all of British Columbia, Alaska and the Yukon Territory, depending on the user’s intent. Washington’s position on the Pacific Ocean and the harbors of Puget Sound give the state a leading role in maritime trade with Alaska, Canada, and the Pacific Rim. Puget Sound’s many islands are served by the largest Ferry System in the United States.

Washington is a land of contrasts. The deep forests of the Olympic Peninsula , such as the Hoh Rain Forest , are among the only temperate rainforests in the continental United States, but the semi-desert east of the Cascade Range has few trees. Mt Rainier, the highest mountain in the state, is covered with more glacial ice than any other peak in the lower 48 states. Western Washington is known for its mild climate, considerable fog, frequent cloud cover and long-lasting drizzles in the winter, and sunny and dry summers.

The high mountains of the Cascade Range run north-south, bisecting the state of Washington. The Cascade Range contains several volcanoes, which reach altitudes significantly higher than the rest of the mountains. From the north to the south these volcanoes are Mount Rainier, Mount Baker , Glacier Peak, Mount St Helens and Mount Adams. Mount St. Helens is currently the only Washington Volcano that is actively erupting; however, all of them are considered active volcanoes.

Western Washington, from the Cascades westward, has a mostly marine west coast climate with mild temperatures and wet winters, autumns, and springs, and relatively dry summers. Western Washington also supports dense forests of conifers and areas of temperate rain forest.

In contrast, Eastern Washington, east of the Cascades, has a relatively dry climate with large areas of semiarid steppe and a few truly arid deserts lying in the rain shadow of the Cascades; the Hanford reservation receives an average annual precipitation of between six and seven inches. Farther east, the climate becomes less arid. The Palouse southeast region of Washington was grassland that has been mostly converted into farmland. Other parts of eastern Washington are forested and mountainous.

Largest Cities in Washington:
1. Seattle, 612,100
2. Spokane, 209,100
3. Tacoma, 198,900
4. Vancouver, 162,300
5. Bellevue, 123,400
6. Kent, 118,200
7. Everett, 103,100
8. Renton, 92,590
9. Yakima, 91,630
10. Spokane Valley, 90,110
11. Federal Way, 89,370
12. Bellingham, 81,070
13. Kennewick, 74,665
14. Auburn, 70,705
15. Pasco, 61,000
16. Marysville, 60,660
17. Lakewood, 58,190
18. Redmond, 55,150
19. Shoreline, 53,200
20. Kirkland, 49,020

National Parks and Monuments:
Mount Rainier National Park
North Cascades National Park
Olympic National Park
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Hanford Reach National Monument

National Forests:
Colville National Forest
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Okanogan National Forest
Olympic National Forest
Okanogan National Forest

Military Facilities: 

Air Force:
Fairchild Air Force Base – Spokane
Joint Base Lewis-McChord
McChord Air Force Base Resource Guide

Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Joint Base Lewis-McChord Community Resource Guide
Madigan Army Medical Center

Coast Guard:
Thirteenth Coast Guard District

National Guard:
Washington National Guard – Camp Murray
Air National Guard
Army National Guard

Naval Air Station – Whidbey Island
Naval Air Station – Whidbey Island Resource Guide
Naval Base – Everett
Naval Base – Everett Resource Guide
Naval Base – Kitsap
Naval Base – Kitsap Resource Guide
Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Keyport Division – Keyport, Washington
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility

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