About the Northwest Waterfall Survey

The United States Geological Survey was founded in 1879 with the purpose of exploring the geological and geographical extents of the country. In the following centuries countless landforms have been inventoried, named, measured, poked, prodded and studied to just about every extent possible. Countless systems have been derived to measure virtually every type of natural landform there is. We know definitively what the tallest Mountains are, which rivers are the longest, how much ice exists in the Glaciers of the Cascade Mountains, and so on. But waterfalls are a feature that has been sadly neglected. This is, of course, partly because waterfalls are much more difficult to both access and properly survey - especially deep in the wilderness areas that permeate the west so broadly. But one has to wonder why such a unique geologic entity can go so underappreciated and unstudied for so long.

The Northwest Waterfall Survey seeks to remedy that. The purpose behind this website is to inventory, study and properly catalog and make known the stature and significance of the thousands and thousands of waterfalls which occur within the Pacific Northwest. The USGS has started the task by mapping several hundred of these features, but that’s largely the extent of their work. The Northwest Waterfall Survey aims to not only provide information that will substantiate any existing data, but to also provide the first concrete record of just how many waterfalls there are in the region and how they measure up against the rest of the world.

The Author

The Northwest Waterfall Survey is spearheaded by Seattle, Washington native Bryan Swan, but often features help and contributions from numerous other Pacific Northwest waterfall hunters. The site was initially launched as a hobby project in 1999, and has grown continually since. In 2003 Bryan along with Vermont waterfall-hunter Dean Goss formed the World Waterfall Database, and the Northwest Waterfall Survey was eventually rolled in to the project to co-exist and share data and information without creating more redundancies or extra work. Both projects now function simultaneously and interchangeably.

Bryan works full time as a web development professional, and operates as a dedicated hobbiest landscape photographer when not tied down to office hours.

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