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About Forks

Forks is a city in Clallam County, Washington, United States. The population was 3,120 at the 2000 census. It is named after the forks in the nearby Quillayute, Bogachiel, Calawah, and Sol Duc rivers.

For many years, the city's economy was fueled by the local timber industry. With recent declines in the industry, however, Forks has had to rely on the nearby Clallam Bay Correctional Center and Olympic Corrections Center as a source of jobs. Forks is a popular destination for sport fishers who fish for salmon and rainbow trout in nearby rivers. It is also supported by visitors to Olympic National Park.

History

Forks was officially incorporated on August 28, 1945 following an election of the constituents who would become its first town members.

Forks is the home of the nations longest Fourth of July celebration called, "Forks' Old Fashioned 4th of July."

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,120 people, 1,169 households, and 792 families residing in the city. The population density was 998.6 people per square mile (386.1/km2). There were 1,361 housing units at an average density of 435.6/sq mi (168.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.47% White, 0.42% African American, 5.03% Native American, 1.51% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 8.49% from other races, and 2.92% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.54% of the population.

There were 1,169 households out of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.4% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 111.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,280, and the median income for a family was $38,844. Males had a median income of $35,718 versus $23,690 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,686. About 14.6% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.7% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.

Geography and climate

Forks is located at 47°57′04″N 124°23′05″W / 47.950980°N 124.3847495°W / 47.950980; -124.3847495 (47.950980, -124.3847495).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.1 km2).

 

Weather data for Forks, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46.6
(8)
49.2
(10)
51.8
(11)
55.7
(13)
60.4
(16)
63.8
(18)
68.2
(20)
69.3
(21)
67.3
(20)
59.2
(15)
50.8
(10)
46.5
(8)
57.4
(14)
Average low °F (°C) 34.6
(1)
35.1
(2)
35.7
(2)
37.6
(3)
41.9
(5)
46.0
(8)
49.0
(9)
49.2
(10)
45.7
(8)
40.9
(5)
37.5
(3)
34.6
(1)
40.7
(5)
Precipitation inches (mm) 14.65
(372.1)
13.35
(339.1)
10.98
(278.9)
7.44
(189)
5.51
(140)
3.5
(88.9)
2.34
(59.4)
2.67
(67.8)
4.15
(105.4)
10.81
(274.6)
16.01
(406.7)
15.5
(393.7)
106.91
(2,715.5)

Government

The City is organized under Washington State law as a Non-charter Code City. Its structure is that of an elected Mayor and a five member elected City Council. Unlike other cities on the Olympic Peninsula, Forks operates under what is called a "strong Mayor" form of government with the Mayor being the Chief Executive Officer overseeing four department heads (Clerk/Treasurer, Public Works, Police, and Legal/Planning).

Forks Municipal Airport

Forks Municipal Airport (IATA: S18ICAO: KS18FAA LID: S18) is located in Clallam County, one mile (1.6 km) southwest of Forks. The Airport has 6 based aircraft, including 3 single-engine aircraft and 3 helicopters. The latest available data indicate that the Airport had a total of 13,550 annual operations.

Runway 4-22 is Forks Municipal Airport’s sole runway. This runway is 2,400 feet (730 m) long, 75 feet (23 m) wide, is equipped with medium intensity runway lighting, and has an asphalt surface. Approaches to both ends of this runway are visual.

Tourism

On the South end of town is the Forks Timber Museum. Constructed in 1990 by the Forks High School carpentry class, the 3,200-square-foot (300 m2) building provides a fascinating look back into the local history of the timber industry, loggers of the past and their tools of the trade. The museum has exhibits depicting local history dating back to the 1870s.

Depending on the person, there are several things to do in Forks. For the teenage group there is a group called the Rainy Day Gamers. These gamers gather every Friday at the ICN Building located a couple blocks away from the stoplight at 71 North Spartan. For others, Forks serves as the hub for numerous day excursions to the Hoh Rainforest, the Pacific Beaches, and various wilderness trails.

A large percentage of Forks visitors are fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, which is set in the town. Tours are available of locations that resemble the places described in Meyer's books, although the movies were not actually filmed in Forks. Locations include the Cullen house (Miller Tree Inn), the house where Bella moves in, and the hospital where Dr. Cullen is supposed to work.

Fishing

Forks is well known for its winter steelhead trout fishing with the Quillayute river system - the Hoh, Sol Duc, Bogachiel and Calawah rivers. Other nearby Clallam, Sekiu and Hoko rivers are also good for king salmon fishing and steelheading as well.

Local guides are available for both native and hatchery runs and for float trips. Fishing gear and clothing is available at local stores.

Tillicum Park

Forks Washington has a display of one of a very few Shay engines remaining in Washington. Shay locomotives are unusual in that they have a crank shaft running down the side, powering all wheels. Rayonier #10 (c/n 3348) was built for stock by Lima in 1930. It has three cylinders and three trucks. It took 11 years until it was finally sold to the Ozette Timber Company. In 1945 it was acquired by Rayonier for their lumber operation near Forks. It was retired near the north end of Forks in Tillicum Park in 1959. The City of Forks erected an attractive shelter over the #10 in 1999.

Community events

Rainfest, a celebration of the arts sponsored by the West Olympic Council for the Arts, occurs in April and usually has a combination of arts and craft related events. In recent years there have been quilt classes and a quilt show sponsored by the Piece Makers Quilt Club.

In March of every year, the Quillayute Valley Scholarship Auction occurs. This annual fundraising event raises tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships. Since the first scholarship award in 1964, to Robert Henry, D.D.S., the Committee has awarded over $1m in scholarships to Forks students.

In the Summer, Forks hosts its traditional "Old Fashioned Fourth of July" celebration with a Grand Fourth of July Parade with numerous events, including a demolition derby and a great fireworks display. July is also the month for Quileute Days at La Push with its parade, traditional salmon bake, bone games, softball tournament, canoe races, and street fair. In August, the Forks Family Festival combines arts and crafts vendors with children activities.

In late September, the Forks Chamber of Commerce partners with the Quileute Tribe and the City of Forks to host the Last Chance Fishing Derby at La Push with cash prizes being the enticement to those wanting to fish for salmon on the Pacific Ocean. The first week in October is when the community celebrates its heritage during Heritage Days. One of the more celebrated events during this week long festival is the "Old Timers Round Table" that is moderated conversation broadcast live via the local radio station involving long time residents of the region talking about days long past.

See also


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