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Return To The Salish Sea: Mapmaker Stefan Freelan

Bellamy Pailthorp
Cartographer Stefan Freelan created the first map of the Salish Sea.

One day nearly a decade ago, a Canadian-born colleague came knocking at cartographer Stefan Freelan’s door.

Bert Webber, a professor of Geography and Environmental Social Sciences at the time, was trying to spread the word about a newly-named body of water. He asked Freelan to help him by making a map of the Salish Sea.

The sea includes watersheds in western Washington and British Columbia, describing an ecosystem that encompasses territories in both the United States and Canada.

“My response was, ‘If you’re trying to get this name across, let’s treat this as a piece of propaganda,’” Freelan says. “Let’s try to make a beautiful map – something people want to put on their wall.”

To see the map Freelan created and read more about how it came to be, visit our "Return To The Salish Sea" website.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment for KNKX with an emphasis on climate justice, human health and food sovereignty. She enjoys reporting about how we will power our future while maintaining healthy cultures and livable cities. Story tips can be sent to