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Almost half the state is forested, hence the nickname, the Evergreen State. Douglas fir, hemlock, western red cedar and ponderosa pine prevail along with other evergreen and deciduous tree species.
Forestry, fisheries and agriculture all contribute to Washington''s economy. Farmers grow apples (more than any other state), berries, other fruit, nuts and wheat. Other major industries include hydroelectric power and the manufacturing of computer software and aircraft.
Although Boeing is now headquartered in Chicago, the aircraft manufacturer still employs more than 85,000 people in Washington State. Other large companies with main offices here include Expedia, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Amazon, Microsoft and Costco. These companies are all located on the west side of the Cascade Mountains and most are situated in or near Seattle, the largest city.
The Space Needle, built for the Seattle World''s Fair in 1962, remains an iconic part of the skyline and is often seen in movies and TV shows. Washington also has the largest network of ferries in the nation making travel to the state''s scenic islands a breeze. Tourists also like to visit Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, a volcano which erupted full-force in 1980.
Whether you enjoy time at the ocean, snow sports or hiking and biking, you can find it all within two or three hours of any place in the state. If you''re looking for sunshine, the eastern part of the state runs about 8 to 10 degrees warmer in the summer than the western part. And yes, there''s rainfall - about 36 inches a year in Seattle.
But that doesn''t dampen the noise the fans make since the Seahawks football team became the 2014 Super Bowl Champions. Other professional sports teams include the Mariners (Major League Baseball) and Sounders (soccer).
The Evergreen State doesn''t level a state income tax and its cost of living is only 2.5 percent above the national average.
For a seafood treat in Western Washington, order the locally-grown Dungeness crab, clams, oysters or mussels.
By: Michael Danzig