To the east, Washington borders Idaho, bounded mostly by the meridian running north from the confluence of theSnake River and Clearwater River (about 116°57′ west), except for the southernmost section where the border follows the Snake River. To the west of Washington lies the Pacific Ocean. Washington was a Union territory during theAmerican Civil War, although it never actually participated in the war.
Forests cover 52% of the state’s land area, mostly west of the North Cascades. Approximately two-thirds of Washington’s forested area is publicly owned, including 64% of federal land.Other common trees and plants in the region are camassia,Douglas fir, hemlock, penstemon, ponderosa pine, western red cedar, and many species of ferns. The state’s various areas of wilderness offer sanctuary, with substantially large populations of shorebirds and marine mammals. The Pacific shore surrounding the San Juan Islands are heavily inhabited with killer, gray and humpback whales.
Mammals native to the state include the bat, black bear, bobcat, cougar, coyote, deer, elk, gray wolf, moose, mountain beaver,muskrat, opossum, pocket gopher, raccoon, river otter, skunk, and tree squirrel. Because of the wide range of geography, the State of Washington is home to several different ecoregions which allow for a varied range of bird species. This range includes raptors, shorebirds, woodland birds, grassland birds, ducks, and others. There have also been a large number of species introduced to Washington, dating back to the early 1700’s, including horses and burros. The channel catfish, lamprey, and sturgeon are among the 400 known freshwater fishes. Along with the Cascades frog, there are several forms of snakes that define the most prominent reptiles and amphibians.Coastal bays and islands are often inhabited by plentiful amounts of shellfish and whales. There are five species of salmon that ascend the Western Washington area, from streams to spawn.