Oh, you may drive through Forks on the 101 if you make the wise decision to tour the perimeter of Olympic State Park, but you likely wouldn’t list Forks as your destination.
This city in Clallam County records a population of 3,175 and was nicknamed the logging capital of the world. When the lumber industry began to wane, the residents of Forks started to depend more on the nearby corrections centre to help keep the city afloat financially.
In 1995 a woman named Stephenie Meyer published a book called Twilight, an event that would change life in Forks forever. Twilight is a story about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire. Well, that’s the extremely condensed summary.
The book is set in Forks, and the following that has helped the book sell 17 million copies worldwide now has this humble city on their list of places to visit. The Forks Chamber of Commerce embraced this phenomenon and is certainly thrilled that tourism has increased an
estimated 600 per cent since the book was released.
There is evidence of Twilight (which was followed by three books to complete the saga) throughout the city. A sign on the visitors’ centre says Entering Forks, Population 3,175, Vampires 8.5.
Local restaurants serve items named after characters, such as Cullen’s Clam Chowder, Bella Berry Pie and a Werewolf Burger. Yes, there are also werewolves in the stories, but we won’t be sucked into too many plot details here. A fuel station just outside Forks put up a sign that welcomes visitors to the Twilight zone.
There are Twilight tour buses rolling down the streets, and a huge store called Dazzled by Twilight is the city’s hot spot. The Twilight goodies for sale ranged from chocolates and bumper stickers to jewelry and water bottles. There were no vacancies at any of the city’s motels and a crowd gathered at the Welcome to Forks sign, with everyone eager for a photo.
About 20 kilometres from Forks is the community of La Push, home to the Quileute Tribe and another setting for the Twilight books. It’s a place of raw, natural beauty with a breathtaking beach and rich cultural heritage.
In the books, the werewolves are from La Push and the vampires live in Forks, and some tourists even choose where they travel to depending if they are on what Twi-Hards (avid Twilight fans) call Team Edward (the vampire) or Team Jacob (the werewolf). And it’s not an exaggeration to say that Twilight fans range in age from youths to great-grandparents, as evidenced by the white-haired trio of women buying “Edward prefers brunettes” coffee mugs in the souvenir shop.
If you decide to continue past Forks and around Olympic State Park, you will be rewarded with some of the most inspiring sites you’ll find in nature. The topography of the Olympic peninsula is ethereally beautiful, with saltwater waves crashing onto driftwood and thick rainforest with towering trees and lush ferns. You forget where you are as you drive the winding road through the park.
There are a few different ways to reach Forks and the park, but they all involve ferries. When you’re on the ferry, you’ll likely know which groups are the Twi-Hards heading to Forks. A minivan full of various-aged females is a dead giveaway. If you’d like to take a tour of the Forks area from home, the website (www.forkswa.com) has photo galleries, webcams and even an online store.
Now you don’t have to actually travel to Washington to get your I Kissed A Vampire And I Liked It bumper sticker.