June 14th, 2008

West Coast Ports

by Don

California is America’s third largest state in land area but second to none in terms of natural beauty and diversity. The state’s northernmost coastal region is home to huge cathedral-like red-wood forests containing some of the world’s tallest trees, över 300 feet tali. in stark contrast is arid Death Valley, in eastern California, where less than 2 inches of rain falls annually on the lowest point in the Americas where some of the world’s hottest temperatures have been recorded. A hundred miles northwest of Death Valley, in the glacier-scoured valleys and mountains of Yosemite National Park, is North America’s highest vraterfall, Yosemite Falls. And in Sequoia National Park, the giant pines are as impressive as the jagged peaks of the High Sierras, among them Mount Whitney, the highest moımtain in the U.S. outside Alaska. Yet it’s the Pacific beaches of coastal California that most often come to mind when people think of life in the Golden State -those beaches of wave-washed sand and rugged headlands where seals and sea lions lounge on rock outcroppings wfıile movie stars lounge on the decks of their beach houses.

With a population exceeding 30 million, California is the most popu-lous state in the U.S. and more than 90% of its residents live in metro-politan areas. Cities and beach communities line the west coast, their growing populations showing no signs of abating as people flock to California just as they first did in 1841, when overland American immi-grants began arriving in large numbers despite the granite barrier pre-sented by the Sierra Nevada mountains and the fact that California was stili part of Mexico. Ceded to the United States by Mexico in 1848, California entered the Union in 1850. By the turn of the century, the state was fhriving. it was, in fact, a land of plenty, with its fertile soil and a long growing season for cultivating a wide variety of produce, including avocados, oranges and grapes for wine. By the end of the 20th century, California’s economy was the most productive of any state, dominated by manufacturing and the new field of high-tech electronics. Other important industries include petroleum, motion picture and television production, and tourism,  the latter drawing visitors by the millions.

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