Washington has great potential for tourism in its spectacular scenic beauty, which includes snowcapped peaks, lush rain forest, sandy beaches, and wooded islands. Outdoor enthusiasts find a variety of recreations in the state. Technological wonders such as Grand Coulee Dam also draw visitors. Seattle is considered one of the most livable cities in the United States. Tourism in Washington has steadily increased since the 1960s.
For many years the principal means of transportation for the settlers of Washington was the area’s waterways. Puget Sound and the Columbia River System provided transportation for passengers and freight. The completion of the transcontinental railroads—the Northern Pacific in 1883, the Great Northern in 1893, and the Milwaukee in 1900—with their land grants to prospective settlers, contributed to the rapid growth of the region.
Today, the main focus of transportation in Washington is Seattle. It is the terminus of transcontinental rail, air, and highway routes and the gateway of the Pacific Northwest, to and from Alaska, Hawaii, and Asia by air and by sea.
The second transportation hub is Spokane, the chief city of the inland Northwest and the center of a web of routes reaching out to Canada, the Northern Rocky Mountains, the Columbia Basin, and the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin country to the south. Between Spokane and Seattle, however, lies the Cascade Range, which is still a formidable barrier to land transportation.
Foreign trade is a vital part of the economy of the Puget Sound area. Chief among Washington’s seaports are Seattle and Tacoma. Others include Anacortes, Bellingham, and Everett. Washington ports are one to three days nearer Asia than any other West Coast shipping center, via the Great Circle Route, and Seattle is the gateway to Alaska. Many imports from abroad arrive in Washington and are then shipped to other parts of the United States. The state’s chief export is aircraft and aircraft parts. "Washington" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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