GEOG 250 Geography of the Pacific Northwest • 5 Cr.


Presents elementary geographical concepts as they apply to the Pacific Northwest region. Students become familiar with geomorphological and climatological processes and their relationship to settlement, population, and economic patterns.


After completing this class, students should be able to:

  • Recognize and informatively explain the essential ingredients inherent within geographical enquiry, for example, discussion will focus on the regional concept in geography and the ways by which a delineation of the Pacific Northwest can be secured.
  • Write short essays to explain the processes responsible for the character of the physical environment of the region and the resultant landforms and physiographic subregions used to describe the region. Students will be able to identify the uniqueness of place and at the same time be aware of the relationships that allow more generalized categorizations that seek to clarify similarities that exist when comparing one region with another.
  • Demonstrate in written form the dynamic nature of the physical environment of the Pacific Northwest, for example, the relative instability of the underlying geological structure and the incidence of volcanic and earthquake activity together with the ongoing work of agents of erosion in modeling and re-shaping the landforms of the region.
  • Assess and identify the inter-relationships that occur in geographic enquiry, for instance the weather patterns that shape the climate of the region will identify not only a most distinct system, but, a system that is particularly variable from one part of the region to another. This may be assessed by short answer tests as well as discussions in class that will appropriately link the patterns of northwest weather and climate with an appreciation of the vegetation and soil characteristics of the area.
  • Demonstrate in written essays the inter-play that exists between the characteristics of the physical environment and the human and cultural response to these factors, for example, early settlement patterns of indigenous peoples, as well as the exploration, trading links and colonization of the region by other groups from Europe and Asia.
  • Explain in short tests and class discussion how the region has evolved from an area of low density population, largely associated with the extraction of primary resources, to a region experiencing increasing population growth and the development of processing, manufacturing and service related fields of economic activity.
  • Explain in written format the role played in the development of the region of the utilization of natural resources, such as hydro-electric power; water available for large scale irrigation projects; areas of fertile soils; natural beauty to enhance tourist potential; and the skills and entrepreneurial abilities that have helped to secure components of locational advantage for the region.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge through mapwork and written essays of the position of the Pacific Northwest relative to the rest of North America as well as to those other regions that together form the ‘Pacific Rim’. The student should be able to recognize the strategic location of the region and the implications that such a factor imposes on future prospects for the area.