The Cascadian Nautical Flag

by Alexander Baretich, Vexilloid Tabloid #53

Cascadia is a bioregion roughly encompassing Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and parts of other states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada’s Pacific Northwest (see VT #36).

In 2012, nearly 17 years after designing the popular Cascadian flag, I created a nautical flag for Cascadia, specifically for vessels of oceans, rivers, and the sky.  The “Cascadian Wave Flag” is a tribute to the bioregion’s waters and sky.

The Cascadian Nautical Flag: A tribute to the waters and sky of the bioregion. Designer: Alexander Baretich.
The Cascadian Nautical Flag: A tribute to the waters and sky of the bioregion. Designer: Alexander Baretich.

At the top of the flag, the two blue and three white waves represent the mountains and partially clear sky.  Hence the white waves next to those two top blue waves represent snowpack and clouds.  Two green waves are the forest-covered hills.  Between the two green waves is a single white wave that represents mist or low clouds.  At the bottom of the flag, the two blue waves represent the Pacific Ocean and the Salish Sea as well as the region’s rivers (Columbia, Willamette, Frazer, Snake, etc.).  The white waves next to the two lower blue waves represent sea foam and the crest of waves.

The green isosceles triangle with its base against the hoist represents the forest-clad hills and mountains.  The Douglas Fir echoes the central symbol of the 1995 Cascadia flag.

Several other flags in the Pacific Northwest have blue and white waves, including British Columbia, the Zapatopi Cascadian flag, and the city of Vancouver, B.C.—they may have played an unconscious element of my creation of Cascadian Nautical flag.  It is certainly part of our collective iconography to represent bodies of water with blue and white waves.

I intentionally made the flag extra long (longer than 1:2), although I have made versions in standard proportions.  A longer flag may well serve a vessel better than a shorter one.

Three colleagues and I have just launched the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative.  Our general goal is to provide Cascadian flags, locally produced and “artist-certified” with our logo, the @Doug symbol.

The “@ Doug” logo of the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative.
The “@ Doug” logo of the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative.

We hope to sell or offer this flag only to owners or captains of vessels—ideally merchant vessels that conduct fair trade as opposed to “free trade” or vessels that have a mission of exploration, research, ecology, bioregional awareness, and/or for socioeconomic and ecological justice.

Like the classic Cascadian flag,  also known as the “Doug Flag”, I hope this flag—as well as all my designs—will not be used for hate, exploitation, and against the values or principles of bioregionalism.

In seeking out a bioregional flag, I believe that it’s the bioregion that will capture the artist—not the  artist capturing the bioregion.

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Author: SDM

Ethnography * Technology * Design

1 thought on “The Cascadian Nautical Flag”

  1. Is the @Doug symbol free domain for local artist to use? I love it and would definitely like a “standard” made in Cascadia stamp/logo for all to use to help our local artists stand out in the sea of Etsy and made-in-China market vendors.

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