National Parks Group Finds Little Progress by U.S. Forest Service in Mount St Helens Management

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   November 20, 2012
Contact:   Kati Schmidt, Senior Media Relations Manager, National Parks Conservation Association, Office: 415.728.0840; Mobile: 415.847.1768
Sean Smith, Policy Director, National Parks Conservation Association, Office: 206.903.1125; Cell:206.818.4041


National Parks Group Finds Little Progress by U.S. Forest Service in Mount St Helens Management

Statement by Sean Smith, Northwest Policy Director, National Parks Conservation Association

Background:  In 2009, the Mount St. Helens Citizens Advisory Committee created a list of 35 recommendations for the U.S. Forest Service to enhance its management of Mount St Helens National Monument. Comprised of citizens, business leaders, and elected officials, the advisory committee focused its recommendations on conservation, science, industry, access, recreation, tourism, and the Forest Service’s management of the monument.  Specific recommendations included dedicating line item federal funding for the monument; building a connector road between Mount St. Helens from Coldwater Ridge and Highway 12; and reinvesting in the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center as a public overnight destination. On Monday, November 19, the U.S. Forest Service presented its status update to the public, and Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler.

“Earlier this fall, students from the University of Washington released a peer-review report on the U.S. Forest Service’s progress towards the 35 recommendations set by the Mount St Helens Advisory Committee.  Through their report, the students found the Forest Service had made little or no progress on 16 of the recommendations - a far cry from a win in my book. Specifically, the Forest Service has not been able to secure stable funding, has not made progress in constructing a connector road between the monument and Mount Rainier National Park, and has not expanded recreation opportunities. Communities surrounding the monument depend on visitor-related tourism to drive their local businesses, and the Northwest tourism industry as a whole can be far better served by a change in management. While the Forest Service appears content to continue to continue its status quo- management, we believe the National Park Service can and would do better for Mount St. Helens.”

“Transitioning management of Mount St. Helens to the National Park Service will only bring about positive changes to monument visitation and its economic impacts to nearby communities. Under National Park Service management, visitors would continue to enjoy current recreation opportunities which, in the long-term, would most likely expand.”

“The National Parks Conservation Association and a broad range of community and business leaders continue to call for new management to better tell the story of this natural gem, which will help increase visitation and expand visitor services; all of which will create tremendous benefits to communities surrounding the monument and those throughout the Northwest.  We call upon Representative Herrera Beutler to support a special resource study of the elevation of Mount St. Helens to a national park.”

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Learn more about NPCA's efforts to elevate Mount St Helens to a national park     

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