Sequim, Washington

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Sequim (pronounced /ˈskwɪm/ ( listen)) is a city in Clallam County, Washington, United States. The population is estimated to be 5,951 as of 2007, not including the approximately 20,000 residents in the Dungeness Valley immediately surrounding the city limits. Sequim is located along the Dungeness River near the base of the Olympic Mountains. The city has been increasing in population dramatically in recent years due to the influx of retirees from the Puget Sound region and California. Recent approximations show a population growth of about 34% since the year 2000 [1].

Sequim lies within the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains and receives an average of less than 15 inches (380 mm) of rain per year—about the same at Los Angeles, California. Yet the city is fairly close to some of the wettest temperate rainforests of the contiguous United States. This climate anomaly is sometimes called the blue hole of Sequim.[3] Fogs and cool breezes from the Juan de Fuca Strait make Sequim's environment more humid than would be expected from the low average annual precipitation. Some places have surprisingly luxuriant forests dominated by Douglas-fir and western red cedar. Black cottonwood, red alder, bigleaf maple, Pacific madrone, lodgepole pine and Garry oak can also be large. Historically, much of the area was an open oak-studded prairie supported by somewhat excessively drained gravelly sandy loam soil, though agriculture and development of the Dungeness valley have changed this ecosystem. Most soils under Sequim have been placed in a series which is named after the city.[2] This "Sequim series" is one of the few Mollisols in western Washington and its high base saturation, a characteristic of the Mollisol order, is attributed to the minimal leaching of bases caused by low annual rainfall.[3]

The city and the surrounding area are particularly known for the commercial growth of lavender, supported by the unique climate: it makes Sequim the "Lavender Capital of North America", rivaled only in France. The area is also known for its Dungeness crab.

Sequim is pronounced as one syllable, with the e elided: "skwim". The word comes from the Klallam language. It can be broken down into multiple sounds, that mean "reason, thing or place for", "shoot" and "go to" which translates to "place for going to shoot" referring to the numerous elk and fowl resources in the area.[4]

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