The Pacific Slope

Pacific Slope

I first came upon the term “Pacific Slope” when introduced to a book by George B. Sudworth called Forest Trees of the Pacific Slope. Sudworth first published this manifesto in 1908 back when the phrase “Pacific Slope” was nearing its end as a common vernacular. Along the west coasts of both North and South America, it appears the phrase was commonly used by early explorers to describe the western slopes of the Continental Divide—indicating the directional change of the watersheds. Technically, the “Pacific Slope” references an extensive land mass but now regionally has come to describe mountains close to the Pacific Ocean.

Sudworth makes no mention of why he selected the title, but clearly chose to define it as Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. Other sources indicate that, if referencing the Pacific Slope in western North America, then Nevada, Idaho, western Montana, Utah, and Arizona should also be included.

I chose this broad and ambiguous phrase in the title of my book because I think it describes my intentions well, as it did for Sudworth. I also wanted to honor Sudworth’s book by contributing to the natural history of the Pacific Slope in the United States. In addition to California, Oregon, and Washington, this book includes all conifers in Idaho, Nevada, northern Baja California and southern British Columbia.

Conifers of the Pacific Slope
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