The Cascades, also called Cascade Range is a major mountain range in North America ranging from British Columbia through Washington , Oregon to Northern California.
Cascade Range includes non-volcanic mountains like North Cascades but also well known volcanoes called High Cascades. The small part of the range in British Columbia is called the Canadian Cascades or Cascade Mountains.
All of the known historic eruptions in the United States have been from Cascade volcanoes. The most recent ones were Lassen Peak in 1914 to 1921 and a major eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Mount St. Helens also erupted in 2006 with minor consequences.
The Cascades extend from Mount Lassen (3170 m) in northern California to Lytton Mountain (2,049 m) in Canada. The tallest volcanoes of the Cascades are called the High Cascades and are dominating their surroundings for 50 to 100 miles with its tallest peaks, one of them being Mount Rainier 14,411 foot (4,395 m).
Flora & fauna
Cascades features a wide range of flora and fauna . The southern part of the Cascades are within the California Floristic Province, an area of high biodiversity. There are numerous species of trees, shrubs and other flowering plants, as well as a gamut of mammals, avifauna, amphibians and reptiles.
Cascades have been inhabited by indigenous peoples for thousands of years and many myths and legends were born about this mountains. One of them tells us that Mounts Baker, Jefferson, and Shasta were used as refuge from a great flood. Other story about Mt Hood and Adams that acted as gods making war by throwing fire and stone at each other , is also popular . According to one myth Mount Baker was formerly married to Mount Rainier and lived in that vicinity.
People are using the soil for farming , because volcanic rocks are often rich in potassium and minerals. Volcanic debris also have a leveling effect and the storage of water in the form of snow and ice is also important. This snow capped mountains such as Mt. Hood and Mt.Bachelor are used as ski resorts in the late winter. Much of that water eventually flows into reservoirs where it is used for recreation before its potential energy is captured to generate hydroelectric power.
Because of the abundance of powerful streams Cascades have been dammed to provide hydroelectric power and also geothermal power is used in places like Klamath Falls, Oregon where volcanic steam is heating public buildings. There is still an enormous potential in geothermal power that can be used in the future for human benefit.
Cascades National Parks
There are four U.S. National Parks in the Cascade Range, one National Scenic Area, and many U.S. National Monuments, U.S. Wilderness Areas, and U.S. National Forests. Each one protects the various glaciers, volcanoes, geothermal fields, rivers, lakes, forests, and wildlife to varying degrees.
In the North Cascades National Park Complex which includes North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas we can found jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 300 glaciers .