The '''Idaho Panhandle''' is the northern region of the [[U.S. State]] of [[Idaho]] that encompasses the ten northernmost [[List of Idaho counties|counties]] of [[Benewah County, Idaho|Benewah]], [[Bonner County, Idaho|Bonner]], [[Boundary County, Idaho|Boundary]], [[Clearwater County, Idaho|Clearwater]], [[Idaho County, Idaho|Idaho]], [[Kootenai County, Idaho|Kootenai]], [[Latah County, Idaho|Latah]], [[Lewis County, Idaho|Lewis]], [[Nez Perce County, Idaho|Nez Perce]], [[Shoshone County, Idaho|Shoshone]].
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The '''Idaho Panhandle''' is the northern region of the [[U.S. State]] of [[Idaho]] that encompasses the ten northernmost [[List of Idaho counties|counties]] of [[Benewah County, Idaho|Benewah]], [[Bonner County, Idaho|Bonner]], [[Boundary County, Idaho|Boundary]], [[Clearwater County, Idaho|Clearwater]], [[Idaho County, Idaho|Idaho]], [[Kootenai County, Idaho|Kootenai]], [[Latah County, Idaho|Latah]], [[Lewis County, Idaho|Lewis]], [[Nez Perce County, Idaho|Nez Perce]], [[Shoshone County, Idaho|Shoshone]]. Residents of the panhandle refer to the region as North Idaho. The southern part of this region from [[Moscow, ID|Moscow]] south is sometimes referred to as [[North Central Idaho]], with the rest as North Idaho. The panhandle is bordered by [[Washington (U.S. state)|Washington]] state to the west, [[Montana]] to the east and [[British Columbia]] to the north.
[[Coeur d'Alene, Idaho|Coeur d'Alene]] is the largest city within the Idaho panhandle; however, nearby [[Spokane, Washington]] is the region's largest city and also the location of the regional airport, [[Geiger Field|Spokane International Airport]] (GEG). Other important cities include [[Lewiston, Idaho|Lewiston]], [[Moscow, Idaho|Moscow]] (home of the [[University of Idaho]]), [[Post Falls, Idaho|Post Falls]], [[Hayden, Idaho|Hayden]], [[Sandpoint, Idaho|Sandpoint]], and the smaller towns of [[St. Maries, Idaho|St. Maries]] and [[Bonners Ferry, Idaho|Bonners Ferry]]. East of Coeur d'Alene is the [[Silver Valley, Idaho|Silver Valley]], which follows [[Interstate 90 in Idaho|Interstate 90]] to the Montana border at [[Lookout Pass]].
The region has a land area of 21,012.64 square miles (54,422.49 km²), or 25.39 percent of Idaho's land area; there is also 323.95 square miles (839.07 km²) of water area. The estimated population of the Idaho Panhandle as of 2004 was 295,160, or slightly more than 21% of Idaho's estimated population of 1,393,262. The [[United States Census, 2000|2000 census]] number was 278,866 residents, or 21.55% of the state's population at the time.
[[Image:Map of Idaho highlighting the Idaho Panhandle.png|150px|right]]
The Idaho Panhandle region observes [[Pacific Standard Time Zone|Pacific Time]] north of the western-flowing [[Salmon River (Idaho)|Salmon River]] in the southern part of [[Idaho County, Idaho|Idaho County]]. The rest of the state to the south observes [[Mountain Standard Time Zone|Mountain Time]], which begins at [[Riggins, Idaho|Riggins]].
The reasons for the different time zones, even though cities and towns in North Idaho are at the same longitude as their southern Idaho neighbors, are: one, because the main media market that covers the entire region is out of Spokane, which is on Pacific time; and two, there are many cross-border connected towns and cities. Of the latter, the two biggest are Spokane with Coeur d'Alene, and Clarkston with Lewiston, Moscow (University of Idaho), and Pullman ([[Washington State University]]). Unlike the Idaho-Montana border, which consists of a long mountain range, and much of the Idaho-Oregon border, which is the Snake River, there isn't a natural boundary between Idaho-Washington. The panhandle is isolated from the southern part of the state due to the east-west mountain ranges that naturally separate the state. Had the border been made today the Panhandle of Idaho would be part of Washington due to local geography.
The Automobile Association of america (AAA) separates Idaho into 2 parts where the Panhandle is part of AAA Washignton and the southern part is part of AAA Oregon/Idaho
The Idaho Panhandle was originally created when the [[Montana Territory]] was organized from the [[Idaho Territory]] in 1864.
When the seat of territorial government was moved to [[Boise, Idaho|Boise]] from [[Lewiston, Idaho|Lewiston]] in late 1864, it was thought that the panhandle region was hard to govern. A proposal was made to make the northern part of the state its own state. The proposal failed, but was attempted again in 1901. This time it was proposed to join the panhandle with [[Eastern Washington]] to form the "[[Lincoln (Northwest state)|State of Lincoln]]", but failed a second time. To this day there is a once-per-generation talk of either the Panhandle joining Washignton or the Panhandle, Eastern Washington and possibly Eastern Oregon forming a 51st state. As an [[olive branch]] to North Idaho, the University of Idaho was placed in [[Moscow, Idaho|Moscow]] in 1889.
Although the Coeur d'Alene area has experienced growth, southwestern Idaho has grown at a faster pace.
North Idaho has not elected a governor since [[Cecil D. Andrus|Cecil Andrus]] [[Democratic Party (United States)|(D)]] in the 1970s (Andrus, an [[Oregon]] native, was a resident of [[Orofino, Idaho|Orofino]]; [[Boise, Idaho|Boise]] was his residency during his later campaigns), or a member of the [[United States Congress|U.S. Congress]] since [[Compton I. White, Jr.]] [[Democratic Party (United States)|(D)]] in the 1960s.
*[[Panhandle National Forests]]
*[[Lake Pend Oreille]]
*[[Lake Coeur d'Alene]]
*[[Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation]]
*[[Kootenai (tribe)|Kootenai Indian Reservation]]
*[[Nez Perce Indian Reservation]]
*[[Bonners Ferry, Idaho|Bonners Ferry]]
*[[Coeur d'Alene, Idaho|Coeur d'Alene]]
*[[Dalton Gardens, Idaho|Dalton Gardens]]
*[[Post Falls, Idaho|Post Falls]]
*[[St. Maries, Idaho|St. Maries]]
*[http://www.visitidaho.org/placestogo/northern.aspx Visit Idaho.org] - official state site - North Idaho
*[http://www.fs.fed.us/ipnf/ U.S. Forest Service] - official site - Panhandle National Forests
*[http://www.wshs.org/wshs/columbia/articles/0388-a1.htm History of the Columbia Region Territories]- Washington State Historical Society