Capital County of Washington State
Washington State University (WSU) Thurston County Extension connects the people of Thurston County to the research and knowledge bases of the state's land grant research university, and the land grant universities of other states, to provide solutions to local problems and bolster the local economy. Our county-based educators work with partners in the community to provide educational programs for all age groups, and to leverage the broad resources of WSU to resolve issues and create a positive future for the residents of Thurston County.
Local WSU Extension programs:
In addition, Washington State University provides over 2,200 publications, numerous online educational opportunities, and other statewide educational programs and technical assistance from eight Research and Extension Centers and Units, 15 Academic Departments and six of WSU's Academic Colleges.
Established in 1852, Thurston County is one of the fastest growing counties in Washington State, increasing by 22 percent between 2000 and 2010. The county currently has a population of 250,979 on 774 square miles of land. The area was long inhabited by Salish Indian groups before the arrival of European fur-traders and the construction of Fort Nisqually on the Puget Sound by the British Hudson's Bay Company in 1833. Washington Territory’s first American settlement was established by Oregon Trail immigrants in the lower Deschutes Valley, near present-day Tumwater and Olympia in 1845. Thurston County now has several distinct communities. As of 2010, the larger communities in the north of the county are Olympia, the state’s capitol, with a population of 47,266; Lacey, population 43,117; and Tumwater, population 17,671. The smaller communities include Yelm, population 6,965; Rainier, 1,695; Tenino, 1,724; and Bucoda, 572. The Chehalis and Nisqually Reservations have tribal enrollments of 833 and 715, respectively. About 132,000 people live outside of these communities, and the unincorporated area makes up more than 86 percent of the county’s land area.
A newsletter is annually published concerning statistics and demographics of the population of Thurston County, WA:
5033 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia, WA 98502
From Interstate 5 (North and South):
Take the Hwy 101 exit (west) and follow till the third exit (Evergreen Parkway/Mud Bay); immediately exit onto the first road to the right; the WSU Thurston County Extension Office is on the corner to the right in the “Old McLane Fire Station.” Parking is available in front of Administration with additional parking in the rear of the building.
From Hwy 101 (East bound):
Take the Mud Bay Rd. exit; turn left and follow Mud Bay Rd. (east bound); go through the signal. The WSU Thurston County Extension Office is the first building on the right after the underpass.
From Downtown Olympia (West bound):
Take Harrison Avenue (west bound) towards Mud Bay. The WSU Thurston County Extension Office is the last building on the left before the Evergreen Parkway entrance.
Extension programs and employment are available to all without discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported through your local Extension office. All programs comply with federal, state, and county regulations.