Description - The northeast region of Washington is still unspoiled, with vast tracts of coniferous forest and dense mountain terrain. But easy access to culture, as well as wilderness, is attracting ever-increasing numbers of visitors and transplants who discover this areas combination of natural beauty and understated sophistication.
The rugged, rolling landscape emerged from the last ice age about 10,000 years ago. Animals and plants followed the retreating glaciers, and humans were not far behind. Native Americans probably began hunting, fishing, and gathering in the area about 9,000 years ago. The Kettle Falls Interpretive Center features an exhibit depicting life as it existed here for millennia before Europeans arrived. White settlement became established in the late 1800s, attracted by the scenic grandeur and abundant natural resources, and facilitated by the transcontinental linking of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
- If you want to escape to the backcountry, the emerald stands of Colville National Forest comprise an amazing 1.1 million acres of protected Ponderosa Pine Country. The Sherman Pass National Forest Scenic Byway (Highway 20) takes you over the highest pass in the state, amid what is really the far western extent of the Rocky Mountains. Fir-covered peaks over 7,000 feet tall roll north into Canada and east into Idaho. Hundreds of miles of trails access the Selkirk Mountains, Kettle River Range, and the precious old-growth forests of Salmo-Priest Wilderness. Remember that roads are closed from mid-November to June, so access to trailheads can be limited by winter weather.
Recreation - Recreational opportunities abound in the Ponderosa Pine region. Visitors can rent a houseboat and relax, or cast a line from a lava terrace along a lake shore. Hike amid the ancient pines and
search for the last herd of wild caribou. Rafting, kayaking, golfing, photography, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and winter activities are available in this area.
Climate - Washington's climate varies with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months.
The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.
Ponderosa Pine Country region is located in the northwestern corner of Washington. The region can be accessed via Hwy. 395.