Aggressive Regionalism: Texts

18. David McCloskey, “Cascadia"

David McCloskey, “CASCADIA: a great green land on the northeast Pacific Rim,” map with text (n.p., 1988)

On the third or fourth night of a new moon, look to the southwest and you may see the face of Cascadia shining in the sky. Cascadia is shaped like the top half of a quarter-crescent moon rising.

Cascadia is a curved land stretching from coast to crest—from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains and the continental divide. Cascadia arcs from Cape Mendocino in the south, east over to Yellowstone, north along the great divide to the Columbia Icefields, and northwest to Mt. St. Elias and Icy Bay (110° to 140° W. longitude and 40° to 60° N. latitude). Containing about 750,000 square miles, Cascadia is home to over twelve million people.

Cascadia is one of the four great regions of western North America—it’s the Pacific slope north of California, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. It includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana, northwestern California, about two-thirds of British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska, taken together as a whole.

Cascadia is a land rooted in the very bones of the earth, and animated by the turnings of sea and sky, the mid-latitude wash of winds and waters. As a distinct region, Cascadia arises from both a natural integrity (eg. landforms and earth-plates, weather patterns and ocean currents, flora, fauna, watersheds, etc.) and a sociocultural unity (eg. native cultures, a shared history and destiny).

One of the newest and most diverse places on earth, Cascadia is a deep-furrowed, laminated and flowing land poured from the north Pacific Rim. The oldest myth of Cascadia suggests mountains rising from the sea. Rivers more ancient than today’s Cascade or Rocky mountains continue to bind earth and sea and sky together in endless life-giving cycles. Major rivers include the:

Columbia, Fraser, Skeena, Snake, Stikine,

Willamette, Alsek, Kootenay, Nass, Thompson, and Pend Oreille.

Klamath, Skagit, Lillooet-Harrison, Clearwater,

Flathead, Salmon, Nechako, Klinaklini,

Shohomish, Homathko, Iskut, Cowlitz, Taku,

Squamish, Quesnel, Santiam, Umpqua, Spokane,

Clearwater, Eel, Rogue, Deschutes, Bulkley, and Bella Coola.

Cascadia is a land of falling waters.

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