Map of the Central Salish Sea (Mer des Salish)

In the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010 the Washington State Board on Geographic Names, the Province of British Columbia Geographic Names Office, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names and the Geographical Names Board of Canada each approved the name 'Salish Sea' as an official designation for the inland marine waters of Washington and British Columbia.

See main Salish Sea Map page for further information on the Salish Sea naming process.

The SALISH SEA extends from the north end of the Strait of Georgia and Desolation Sound to the south end of the Puget Sound and west to the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including the inland marine waters of southern British Columbia, Canada and northern Washington, USA.

This map shows just the central region of the Salish Sea (at a map scale of 1:500,000):

Central Salish Sea Map         .pdf      .jpg

Or an alternate version (zoomed in a bit further to my favorite areas) with a map scale of 1:350,000 instead of 1:500.000

Central Salish Sea Map 350k        .pdf      .jpg

See also maps of the entire Salish Sea & Surrounding Basin and the main Salish Sea Map page:

Main Salish Sea Map







 Full Salish Sea Map in different formats*:

 JPEG version (3 MB)

 Medium resolution version (PDF, 2 MB)

 High resolution version (PDF, 4 MB)
          (large file may take a few moments to load)

 The 'B' Side (back side of the 11x17 map) w/notes


 * right-click on link and choose Save Link As or Save Target As to download




Map Details:

The Salish Sea Maps were produced using a Geographic Information System (GIS) and publically available spatial datasets for elevation, bathymetry and hydrology. Public use and reproduction for non-commercial purposes is permitted. Reproduction of this map for other websites or publications is permitted with the following conditions:
    - Please include a map citation:
                    "Map of the Salish Sea & Surrounding Basin, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2009"

 "Map of the Central Salish Sea, Stefan Freelan, WWU, 2010"
    - Please let me know how you are using it
Sale of this map is prohibited without explicit permission from the cartographer.

Map Production Notes
       Cartographer:                  Stefan Freelan, 2009-10
   Software:                         ESRI's ArcGIS 9.3
       Elevation Data:               SRTM (CGIAR-CSI) 2
       Bathymetry Data:           NOAA, Wa. DFW
       Additional Data:             Wa. DNR, BC Digital Atlas, ESRI

Variations of color on the map are based on elevation (not actual landcover). Colors were chosen to mimic the 'feel' of the Pacific coast landscape (lighter greens for the lowlands, white for the mountain peaks). In addition a 'hillshade' effect has been created casting a virtual 'shadow' across the landscape to better depict the topography as if one is seeing a 3-dimensional shaded relief model. Similar color gradations are applied to the bathymetric data, again with a shadow effect applied as a 'floorshade' (i.e. a 'hill'-shade for the ocean floor).

It is unusual for a map of this type to not include the cities, roads and borders that have been created by humans. Instead, this map focuses on the Salish Sea itself, defined not by political jurisdictions but by the geography of the water and land itself. As such, the text labels on the map are likewise used only for the natural features defining the Salish Sea.


Name Details:

The name Salish Sea is not a historical term for the inland waters of British Columbia and Washington State. It was proposed by marine biologist Bert Webber in 1988. Dr. Webber recognized the need for a single geographic term that encompassed the entire ecosystem, spanning across the international border. Having a name to identify the entire area calls attention to the trans-border commonality of water, air, wildlife and history. Rather than being a replacement for any of the existing names, the designation Salish Sea is an overlay which includes and unites the established and familiar names of the various water and land bodies (the Strait of Georgia, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound, Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands, etc.). The name also pays tribute to the Coast Salish peoples who have inhabited the area since long before Euro-American explorers first arrived. In 2009 the governments of both British Columbia and Washington officially adopt the name Salish Sea. 3