Introduction to Pasco, Washington
Pasco is situated in the southeastern portion of the state of Washington in Franklin County. The rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains has produced a desert climate, with hot summer months and cold winters. The Columbia River runs along the southern portion of Pasco and separates it from the other members of the Tri-Cities, Richland and Kennewick.
Due to extensive irrigation, agriculture is a major part of the economy. The region includes a thriving wine industry. Some of the primary employers are Burlington Northern, Bechtel National Inc., Boise Cascade and Tyson Foods. The region has a basalt and lava landscape which is sprinkled with a vast amount of sage brush.
In 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived in the region. Fur trappers as well as gold traders were prominent. The population significantly increased due to the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The city was incorporated in 1891. Virgil Bogue, an employee of the NP Railway named the city in tribute to Cerro de Pasco, a town located in the Peruvian Andes where he had been involved in constructing a railroad. In 1941 the Grand Coulee Dam project was completed, which led to a vast irrigation system and a thriving agriculture industry.
During the 1950's the construction of the Hanford Site, a nuclear power facility, brought rapid growth to the Tri-Cities area, but most of the population growth occurred in Richland and Kennewick. However, during the late 1990's, developers anticipated another growth spurt and acquired a large amount of farm land and turned it into residential and commercial areas. Since then, Pasco has become the highest populated municipality in the Tri-Cities.
The Sacagawea Heritage Trail is an educational path which is utilized for bicycle riding, hiking and bird watching. Several waterfront parks are located near the Columbia River. Boating, fishing, camping, hiking and water skiing are popular activities at the Columbia River. Badger Mountain is a notable location for hikers and offers great views of the Yakima and Columbia River valleys.
Due partially to the climate, especially the mild winters, golf is a popular activity. Visitors enjoy the region's wine tours. There are more than 100 wineries. Boat tours take visitors to the Hanford Reach which features the notable White Bluffs and a variety of wildlife. River cruises along the Columbia River are also available.
- Pasco's Farmers Market attracts visitors from all over the region.
- Fiery Foods Festival showcases the flourishing Hispanic culture.
- The Tri-City Dust Devils play baseball in the Northwest League.
- The Trade Recreational Agricultural Center is utilized for conventions, concerts and various sports events.
- Tri-City Americans play hockey.
- Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science & Technology Museum is a notable venue.
- The Sacagawea State Park marks the location where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at the convergence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
- The Washington State Railroad Society's museum offers a look at the early history of Pasco.
- Tri-Cities Water Follies features exciting hydroplane racing.
The city is home to the Tri-Cities Airport.