|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||December 14, 2011|
|Contact:||Sean Smith, Policy Director, National Parks Conservation Association
P: 206.903.1444 x201; C:206.818.4041 email@example.com
Mark Smith, EcoPark Resort 360.749.4050
Mark Plotkin, Former Director Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau 360.425.3849
Local Leaders Urge for a Mount St. Helens National Park Study
Seattle, WA—More than 30 local elected officials, business owners, community leaders, conservationists, and park supporters today sent a letter to Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, urging her to call for a study about making Mount St. Helens a national park. In addition to ensuring stronger protections for Mount St. Helens as a natural and cultural international gem, the surrounding communities would benefit economically from elevating the volcano to a national park site.
“Adding Mount St. Helens to the National Park System would help improve regional prestige, increase visitation, enhance recreation and conservation opportunities,” said Mark Plotkin, Former Director, Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau.
In the letter, local leaders asked Rep. Herrera Beutler to sponsor legislation seeking a special resources study that would require the National Park Service to investigate the national significance of Mount St. Helens, and determine whether its inclusion in the park system is warranted. Currently, several bills including the Newtown Battlefield Special Resource Study and Colonel Charles Young Home Study Acts are working their way through Congress.
“It’s time to take a serious look into making Mount St. Helens a national park,” said Mark Smith, owner of the Eco Park Resort. “A special resource study is the best way to get all the facts on the table about adding our mountain to the park system.”
Community leaders believe transferring management of Mount St. Helens from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service will benefit the regional economy, including Washington’s 3rd Congressional district. Recent studies reveal that national parks are huge economic engines, pumping nearly $13 billion in economic activity into gateway communities, as well as supporting more than a quarter million jobs. For every dollar spent on national parks, four dollars are returned to the economies of gateway communities. More than seven million people visited Washington’s national parks last year alone and national parks nationwide received near record-breaking visitors, despite one of the toughest economies in decades.
This letter comes on the heels of a trip to Washington, D.C. by local business owners and community leaders who met with congressional leaders to voice their support for a special resource study. Meetings were held with the Washington and Oregon delegation including Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s, Earl Blumenauer’s, and Rep. Doc Hasting’s offices.
“Mount St. Helens is an international gem, worth preserving for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. The mountain and its surrounding communities deserve the prestige, recognition, and stability that would come with making it a national park,” said Sean Smith, Policy Director with NPCA and former Mount St. Helens ranger.