Mount St. Helens

The Swift Reservoir south of Mount St. Helens
  • Number of Projects:3
  • Acreage: 12311
  • Fact: Most species that were wiped out by the Mount St. Helens eruption have returned. One species that hasn’t? Northern flying squirrels. They need mature forests to survive.
  • Experience: South of this iconic volcano is a dramatic landscape of forests, lahar and talused slopes—all of it criss-crossed by streams whose source is Mount St. Helens itself.
  • What We’re Doing: Protecting working forests and local jobs on a landscape-scale by preventing development on timberlands. Permanently protecting a creek (and surrounding forestland) that is critical habitat to endangered bull trout.
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The Big Picture

For sheer visual drama, few places compare to our Mount St. Helens conservation area on the south side of the volcano. This is a land of lahar, coldwater creeks, little-traveled trails, and old forests: the Gifford Pinchot National Forest alone encompasses some 1.3 million acres. Columbia Land Trust began working here after when local developers began converting cut-over timberlands into suburban-style subdivisions. We created a partnership with Skamania County and Pope Resources with a goal of placing 85% of their 24,000-acre holding into various forms of conservation.  After working with the community and many other partners, we developed a plan that benefits everyone—and keeps runaway housing development in check. Today, we are working to complete the fourth phase of this effort, which would bring us to our goal of conserving 20,000 acres of forestland.  Watch our documentary film As She Grows about the project.

Why It Matters

Bull trout, Chinook, coho, steelhead, northern spotted owl, gray wolf, bald eagle, Roosevelt elk, deer, wolverine: This area is a stronghold for many of great animals that define the Northwest. It’s also a stronghold for forestry jobs. Our goal is to provide habitat for wildlife and protect land-connected livelihoods by ensuring that unchecked development doesn’t replace productive forestlands or harm the habitat around Pine Creek. In 2013, we purchased 2,330 acres around this cold water creek. The land contains some nine miles of the creek and a major tributary; both provide some of the last remaining habitat for endangered bull trout in Washington State.

Featured Story

2016 in Review

Ten ways you made a difference for the nature of the northwest in 2016.

It wasn’t always easy (meaningful conservation rarely is), but with your support, we were able to protect and restore important places throughout the Columbia River region while building strong relationships along the way. From the remote forests of Klickitat Canyon to backyard habitats in urban neighborhoods, take a look back at some of our greatest accomplishments…

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Updates from the Field
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[Tour] Scat Task Force
Columbia Land Trust and the University of Washington's Center for Conservation Biology program, Conservation Canines, have teamed up for adventure. Our quest? Wildlife scat.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 ~8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. $75 Combining land conservation and wildlife education, Columbia Land Trust and Conservation Canines have teamed up for a second time to offer the ultimate wildlife and dog lover’s expedition. We will explore part of our Pine Creek conservation property located on the south side of Mount St. Helens.…

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Forestry Fellows
The World Forestry Center’s International Fellows recently toured the Land Trust’s Pine Creek property to learn about conservation forestry.

  The value of our forests cannot be underestimated. Trees feed more than 80 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, refill aquifers, create jobs, purify our air, and shelter us. The forests of the Northwest are core to cultural identities, our region’s history, and the health of the future. That’s a part of the mission…

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As She Grows
A new film tells the story of the Mount St. Helens forest conservation project, Columbia Land Trust's largest conservation effort to date.

Last week, Columbia Land Trust’s Wild Splendor gala featured the premiere of our latest short film. As She Grows illustrates how the Land Trust found the middle ground between environmentalism and forestry to conserve upwards of 20,000 acres of forestland on the south shoulder of Mount St. Helens. In the film, our forest conservation director, Cherie…

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