The most widespread understanding of the Pacific Northwest includes the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon – a region that extends from northern California to around Prince William Sound on the Alaska coast. Loosely defined, it is a region bounded by the Rocky Mountains in the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
The term Northwest Coast specifically refers to the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest. It is characterized by significant annual precipitation (approximately 200-400 cm) and mild temperatures throughout the year (mean annual temperatures are usually between 4 and 12 degrees Celsius). Dominated by expansive, lush swaths of forest, the Northwest Coast is home to the Pacific temperate rain forests ecoregion – the largest of its kind on the planet.
Within British Columbia, the Coast region (composed of Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the North and Central Coast) is often distinguished from the Lower Mainland (Metro Vancouver and the southern Fraser Valley) and the Interior (Cariboo/Chilcotin, Thompson-Okanagan, Kootenays and Northern British Columbia). However, from a biogeoclimatic perspective, the Lower Mainland is essentially part-and-parcel of the Coast: both are densely covered by the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone, with a spattering of the Coastal Douglas-fir zone in the south, and Mountain Hemlock and Alpine Tundra zones at higher elevations.
Living in Vancouver with strong ties to the Island, we decided to initially focus this site on the Coast Mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands. These areas align perfectly with the traditional territories of the Coast Salish and Nuu-chah-nulth (pronounced New-chaa-nulth) – a land that has been inhabited for over 9,000 years!
It is our hope that this website will be a visual voice for this Land. It is our home and one of the most beautiful places in the world.