St. Helens Advisory Committee Releases Draft Recommendations

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Ryan Ojerio
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St. Helens Advisory Committee Releases Draft Recommendations

Post by Ryan Ojerio » March 3rd, 2009, 2:23 pm

The St. Helens Advisory Committee released draft recommendations (including the recommendation to retain Forest Service Management). Two public meetings are scheduled, see below for details. Copied and pasted from the press release:

The congressionally impaneled advisory committee met in an open public retreat session on February 27th & 28th in Longview to work through draft recommendations on the future of the monument. This followed a year of public meetings held in locations throughout SW Washington. These recommendations are designed to be released to the public for public comment before the committee adopts final recommendations for presentation to our Congressional delegation.

The Committee has agreed to the following meeting schedule:
Monday March 30th for Public Comment in Kelso in the Commissioners Hearing Room from 6-9pm.

Monday April 13th for Public Comment in the Camas Police Department Community Room, 2100 NE 3rd St., Camas, WA from 6-9pm.

Thursday May 14th all day at the Cowlitz County Regional Conference Center for drafting final recommendations. Open to the public. No Public Comment.

Comments may also be emailed to [email protected]

The draft recommendations are listed as follows:
• Properly fund maintenance of all trails, roads and facilities
• Improve and expand access
o Fund and build 504 all-weather road extension from Coldwater to US12
o Fund and build 503 spur all-weather road from Cougar to Carson
o Upgrade FS Road 25 to all-weather road, Level 5 Standard

• Reinvest in Coldwater Ridge as an overnight destination to include science, interpretation, education, visitor services, food and university partnerships
• Insure visitor and emergency communication capability around the Monument
• Develop and fund an Emergency Response Plan
• Provide adequate, non-federal utility service where needed in the Monument
• Shift responsibility for the Spirit Lake tunnel to the Corp of Engineers

• Recreational opportunities should be broadened to embrace a diverse and responsible use of the forest
• Adequately fund and maintain recreational facilities
• Create camping facilities using Lower Falls as a template
• Recommend more recreational activities including camping and fishing in the Restricted Area that are compatible with the Act by creating a Scientific and Recreational Advisory Committee to vet recreational opportunities and suggestions in the Restricted Area for the managing agency
• Designate seasonal recreational activity locations for motorized and non-motorized participants

• The Restricted Area should be left to unimpeded recovery maintaining the geological and ecological processes as well as the integrity of the features
• Visitor impacts and carrying capacity of the Restricted Area will be consistent with the goals of the Act
• No road building in the Monument
• Support coordinated partnerships with all stakeholders to control invasive species
• Maintain habitat protection
• Encourage partnerships with voluntary organizations

• Expand science funding with specific emphasis on more direct public education and broader interpretive and applied science programs
• Dedicate the Monument Scientist to science
• Provide an expanded science experience for visitors
• Promote the Monument as a scientific laboratory
o Involve the universities and community colleges
o Develop new technologies

• Continue to develop relationships with industrial land owners bordering the Monument
• Encourage relationships with emerging technologies and industry in remote sensing, robotics, nanotechnology and renewable energy
• Create an R&D laboratory setting for technology applications in harsh environments
• Continue to address recreation and tourism as industrial components

• Develop destination resorts in and around the Monument
• Develop a year-round regionally coordinated marketing plan
• Fully fund the managing agency’s interpretive programs
• Develop a regional tourism network (Destination Marketing Organization)
• Develop a user-friendly, unified (state and federal) fee system
• Develop products and services that will enhance visitors’ experience
• Establish and fund a Special Use Permit process for the Monument

• Retain Forest Service management
o Create an administrative unit consisting of existing Federal lands west of and including the 25 Road with no expansion of the Monument boundary
o The Monument itself must be a line item funded from the Mandatory portion of the Forest Service budget
o This model should be used as a template for “Special Places” within the National Forest Service system, as the current model has failed
o Require an annual meeting with stakeholder groups

• Congressional oversight
• Ongoing role for the Advisory Committee
• Cooperative Agency Status
• Partnership agreements with state, local, federal entities and other stakeholders to include an annual meeting
• Cooperation of counties on comprehensive planning on private lands adjacent to the Monument

Co Chairs
Lewis County Commissioner Lee Grose 360-740-1120
Cowlitz County Commissioner Axel Swanson 360-577-3020
Skamania County Commissioner Paul Pearce, 509-427-3700
Washington Trails Association
Southwest Washington Regional Manager
[email protected]
(360) 722-2657

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Re: St. Helens Advisory Committee Releases Draft Recommendations

Post by [email protected] » March 5th, 2009, 6:52 am

This is bad news that there is not a recommendation for National Park Status for MSH. They seem to think that by appealing to the Forest Service they will get funds to reopen the visitor centers - the same agency that shut them down.
There is a strong, lead editiorial in today's Oregonian in support of National Park Status and calling into question the recommendations and the short-sightedness of same. Here is the link and below the text: ... ir_do.html
It's high time that Mount St. Helens was converted from a national monument into a national park

What would John Muir do?by The Oregonian Editorial Board
Wednesday March 04, 2009, 5:29 PM

John Muir was crestfallen. The young naturalist had finally met his inspiration, philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Yosemite Valley, no less. But try as he might, Muir couldn't persuade Emerson to sleep out under the sequoias.

Sadly, the elderly philosopher was keener to rhapsodize about nature than camp in it. Emerson headed back to his hotel -- missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tramp under the stars with John Muir.

That squandered opportunity came to mind this week when a group analyzing the future of Mount St. Helens also missed a chance. Like Emerson, the task force representing Washington's Cowlitz, Lewis and Skamania counties was deep and studious, and came tantalizingly close. It just failed to go the distance. It failed to recommend that Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument become a national park.

The group did recommend increasing the budget, profile and stature of the monument. But it wants to see the volcano remain tucked under the elbow of the U.S. Forest Service, a dutiful overseer unlikely to spotlight the volcano or invest in it. It will always have more urgent priorities, including fires to fight.

To us, it's been obvious for some time that Mount St. Helens deserves to be singled out as one of our nation's Very Important Places. And a recent report by The Oregonian's Scott Learn, contrasting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument with Lassen Volcanic National Park, shows why the designation is critical.

Mount St. Helens and Lassen are roughly the same size, about 110,000 square acres. Although Mount St. Helens is better known, and draws many more visitors -- 750,000 a year to Lassen's 400,000 -- Lassen is much richer in resources.

Lassen has 57 miles of roads to Mount St. Helens' 22; 10 campgrounds to Mount St. Helens' zero; and a budget of $5.4 million, contrasted with Mount St. Helens' paltry $1.6 million.

Of course, Lassen has been around longer, too. But because it's a national park, it's treated as a dignitary, not an afterthought. Since 2002, federal spending on Mount St. Helens has increased by only 1 percent, while federal spending on Lassen has increased by 44 percent.

Disappointing as the Washington task force's draft recommendations were, perhaps they're not all that surprising. Establishing a national park typically involves a tug-of-war between local and national interests, as filmmaker Ken Burns noted in a recent stop at The Oregonian promoting his new documentary on the parks. The film will air next fall, and Muir is one of its heroes.

There's little doubt where Muir would stand on the question of Mount St. Helens' future. Unfortunately, he's not available to make the case. The volcano needs some other champions to step up -- ideally, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, an advocate for Mount St. Helens, joined by Sen. Patty Murray and Oregon's Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley.

Forget half measures. Forget "almost there." This is a Muir moment. The Washington and Oregon delegations should seize it, and push for Mount St. Helens to join the pantheon.

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Ryan Ojerio
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Re: St. Helens Advisory Committee Releases Draft Recommendations

Post by Ryan Ojerio » March 5th, 2009, 8:42 am

Link to short Article in The Columbian, from today Thursday 2-5-09: ... /703059960
Washington Trails Association
Southwest Washington Regional Manager
[email protected]
(360) 722-2657

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