The Cascadia Movement: Bridging the Pre-Digital Divide

On a sunny day in July, more than 100 individuals gathered at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington to help shape a positive future for the Cascadia bioregion. They met deliberatively, in a participatory process that included representatives from watersheds, towns, organizations, groups and species, examined challenges to the region, and explored strategies and goals to overcome them. Over that weekend, bioregional organizers such as Bill Fiorilli, Rusty Post, Peter Moulton, Lynn Bemstein, Lisa Taylor, Dave Newhouse, Eric Haugland and David McCloskey, with the first Cascadia flag, bearing the stars and crescent, as well as Carolyn Estes and David Haenke met and deliberated for what became the first ever, Cascadia Bioregional Congress, hosted in 1986.

On September 4th-6th of this year CascadiaNow! hosted our own Rainingman gathering, held near Olympia, WA. The festival brought nearly 200 people from around the Pacific Northwest for a weekend of music, performance, presentations and workshops. That Saturday, a person arrived from Olympia and introduced himself to us. He happened to be Peter Moulton, one of those original organizers for the first Cascadia Bioregional Congress back in 1986 and with him he brought the proceedings of those first meetings.

We are so excited to have been able to make this introduction, and receive these materials as many of these notes and documents available currently available nowhere else online. Peter Moulton has been fastidiously saving these documents for nearly three decades, giving us an opportunity to archive those documents and make them accessible online to share this valuable trove of maps, notes and proceedings of the early Cascadia movement. What’s more exciting now, is also the partnerships that we get to build in reaching out with other bioregional organizers, and in working with museums, librarians, universities, professors, students and archivists to help us preserve this material.

In 2016, CascadiaNow! will embark on an aggressive strategy to help make this material accessible for everyone, and to use it as an opportunity and tool to raise broader awareness about Cascadia and the Cascadia Movement. Firstly, as next year is the 30th anniversary of the first Cascadia Bioregional Congress, we are talking with Peter Moulton, David McCloskey and other early organizers about hosting some type of Congress or event that can gather them all back together to explore the Cascadia movement after 30 years. As part of this, we are researching the best way we could be capturing this experience, and the stories of the participants on film and audio.

In addition, we have reached out with the chief librarian and photograph curator at the Museum of History and Industry, and the ResearchWorks Service at the University of Washington, to help us develop an effective strategy for archiving and digitizing this material. As part of this we are in talks with several groups about helping to co-author a King County 4Culture Collections Heritage Grant with the goal of not only protecting, but of developing a exhibition that could be shared with universities, libraries and museums about the early and contemporary Cascadia movement.

Lastly, we seek to use this as an opportunity to engage our amazing Cascadia supporters and volunteers. To help release this information, we’ve already been chatting with the Cascadia Wikimedia group to help us release and distribute the information in a way that is open source, educationally friendly and public, and to host work parties to help create relevant pages. In addition, we are reaching out with professors and teachers, as well as students to help put together academic internships, or to help students in need of senior projects, to help us draft essays that help us document these primary source materials and there importance in a broader Pacific Northwest context.

So stay tuned, as we work hard to make this material available! and if you would like to share your expertise, or have materials or photographs you would like to share, please email

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