Once primarily a timber and milling power-house, Mason County has diversified its industries from lumber-based to include fishing, trading, manufacturing, tourism, and services. Located north-west of Thurston and Pierce Counties, many of Mason County’s residents commute to jobs outside of the county. While milling and logging originally dominated Mason County’s economy, environmental protections placed on its county forests in the 1980s severely limited the scope of activity, forcing Mason County to expand its industries. Now the county’s largest employer is the Squaxin Tribe, who operate several Trading Post gas stations, tobacco stands, a Business Development Center, a distributing company, a seafood company, and a search and consulting company.
Mason County offers many recreational activities for visitors, due to its scenic coast and plentiful lakes. Fishing remains a favorite hobby for visitors and residents alike, while oyster harvesting remains a prominent industry in Mason County. With the decline in forest product processing, tourism and seafood production have increased in economic importance and continue to sustain the county.
County Seat: Shelton
Incorporation Date: March 13, 1854
Form of Government: General Law
Area: 961 sq mi (2,489 km2)
Population: 64,980 (2019)
Etymology: Charles H. Mason (1830–1859), 1st Secretary of Washington Territory