Mount St. Helens

The Swift Reservoir south of Mount St. Helens
  • Number of Projects:4
  • Acreage: 20000
  • 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. In June 2018, we, completed the fourth phase of this effort and achieved 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.

Summer Fieldbook 2018
Featured Story

A Fieldbook for Forests

The summer edition of our Fieldbook magazine covers major conservation efforts and includes our 2017 Annual Report.

Our newest edition of Fieldbook celebrates Northwest forestlands, both working and wild, with major conservation success from the West and East Cascades. Learn about the Land Trust’s single-largest conservation site to date in Washington’s Klickitat Canyon in Klickitat Always. Discover how our staff worked with a timber company to protect 20,000 acres of forestland from development near…

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Updates from the Field
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Breaking Down the Borders
Our Forest Conservation Director Cherie Kearney shares how the Land Trust is working to include more culturally and racially diverse perspectives throughout the region.

For ten years we’ve held our vision for the south side of Mount St. Helens—20,000 acres of forest conservation. While at the outset we didn’t know what conservation of such a landscape would look like, what eventually emerged was community conservation. Along the way, we heard wide-ranging opinions from the community, in­dicating that forestry is…

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Slow & Swift
Columbia Land Trust Realizes a bold vision more than a decade in the making

While Douglas-firs dominate the landscape on the southern flanks of Mount St. Helens, the stumps of massive cedars lining the forest floor tell a deeper story. They are reminders that, in nature and in human endeavors, lasting change takes time. Case in point: Columbia Land Trust, in partnership with Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR),…

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Traveling Upstream
Executive Director Glenn Lamb checks in on the efforts of the Land Trust's Conservation Agenda, and shares major priorities that lie ahead.

  In 2017 Columbia Land Trust staff prepared a Conservation Agenda for the next 25 years of our work. The two major goals that we zeroed in on: Conserve more land and engage more people. In this effort, we want to ensure nature in the Northwest thrives even as our population grows, and that underrepresented…

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