The last county to be established in Washington State, Pend Oreille County is located in the northeastern tip of the state, bordering Idaho and Canada. Originally inhabited by the Kalispel tribe, Pend Oreille County was one of the last counties to be settled and still features a relatively sparse population. Once the site of a small gold rush, Pend Oreille County’s economy is still largely based in natural resource extraction, especially zinc and lead mining. While Pend Oreille County has attempted to diversify their economy with the development of dams, mills, and cement manufacturing, zinc and lead mining remain the county’s most important industries and continue to employ a significant portion of the county population.
Covered by the rugged beauty of the Colville National Forest, the county remains largely undeveloped, providing ample and diverse recreation and scenic activities for visitors. The Pend Oreille River, running through the middle of the county, is a popular tourist destination, featuring campsites and boat launches for visitors looking for outdoor recreation opportunities. Due to the development of the Box Canyon Dam in the 1950s, Pend Oreille River now boasts stretches of vacation homes developed to enjoy the recreational opportunities of the now-placid river.
County Seat: Newport
Incorporation Date: March 1, 1911
Form of Government: General Law
Area: 1,400 sq mi (3,626 km2)
Population: 13,740 (2019)
Etymology: The Pend d’Oreille tribe, named by French traders for their “ear bobs”