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“Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

Pacific County Attractions

Parent Category: Washington Counties
Created: 06 October 2014

Population: 21,000

Area: 1,223  square miles

County Seat: South Bend

OVERVIEW

Pacific County is located in the southwestern part of Washington State. The county was named after the Pacific Ocean which forms its western border. County’s southern border is formed by the Columbia River and Wahkiakum County. To the north, Pacific County borders with Grays Harbor County and to the east, with Lewis County. Long Beach Peninsula, which is 30 miles long, is the main distinctive feature of the county. Oystering and fishing, lumber and later cranberry farming, dairy farming and tourism are main industries of the county.

The area of the county is about 1,223 square miles and the population is about 21,000 people. County seat is South Bend and Raymond is the largest city.

HISTORY

First people in the future Pacific County were the Chinook Indians. There were more than 40 settlements here. These people spoke the Chinook language and traded with different tribes. They were great fishermen, salmon and oysters were main trade “products”.

It should be said that because of county’s location on the Pacific Ocean for many explorers who came here by sea this land was the first impression of the future state. The exploration of this land started in 1775 by Bruno Hereca.

In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition came to the Chinook’s village and stayed here for 18 days.

COUNTY SEAT

South Bend which is located on the Willapa River is Pacific County seat. It was founded in 1869. The main industries of the town were lumber and sawmill. In 1892 the town of South Bend became county seat. The population of the town is 1, 637 people. The town is known for its oysters and the most beautiful nature. South Bend is considered to be the Oyster Capital of the World. Today you will find numerous docks, fishing boats and crab-processing plants here.

ATTRACTIONS

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge is found on Willapa Bay and is considered to be one of the most ancient estuaries in the country. At the same time Willapa Bay is the second largest estuary on the Pacific coast.

The main aim of the refuge is to preserve unique ecosystems of the region such as rain-drenched old growth forest, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, grasslands and dynamic coastal dunes and long beaches.

Many salmon species can be found here, among them are chinook, coho and chum. Such seabirds as brown pelicans come here from the ocean for summer and fall. Other important species include marbled murrelet, great blue herons, bald eagles and Brant. Old-grow forest and green grasslands are home for elk, bear, flying squirrels, bobcat, spotted owls, woodpeckers, silver-haired bats and Pacific tree frogs.

Fort Columbia State Park

Fort Columbia State Park is a wonderful 593-acre historical park located along freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River. Here visitors will enjoy historical and original U.S. Army Coastal Artillery buildings, which were active 1896-1947. This area was explored by the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The park offers wonderful recreational possibilities, gorgeous views of the Columbia River estuary, 5-miles of hiking trails, wildlife viewing, picnicing and lots more.

Cape Disappointment State Park

Cape Disappointment State Park, which was known as Fort Canby State Park, is a 1,882-acre park located on the Long Beach Peninsula. This park has lots to offer to its visitors, including two miles of ocean beach, two lighthouses and miles of hiking trails. Tourist will surely enjoy wonderful beaches, ship watching, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, both lighthouses (North Head and Cape Disappointment Lighthouse). Well-maintained hiking trail take its visitors through old-growth forest, along lakes and marshes (both freshwater and saltwater), etc.

Long Beach

Long Beach is the main geographical feature of the county. It is located on the southwestern coast where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean. Long beach offers endless recreational possibilities from kayaking to wildlife and bird watching.

The third week of August is known here because it is the week when the Washington State International Kite Festival is held.

Another wonderful possibility to explore Long Beach is to go hiking along Discovery Trail, which stretches from Ilwaco to North Long Beach for eight miles.

Information: Marina Petrova

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