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.
Contact Us About This Project

The Big Picture

For sheer visual drama, few places compare to our Mount St. Helens project 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 a publicly traded timber company with large holdings in the area took steps to sell off some of its land for development. After working with many partners, we developed a plan that benefits everyone—and keeps runaway housing development in check. Our goal is to conserve 20,000 acres of this forested area. Today, we are more than halfway there. 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…

Read More
Updates from the Field
View All
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
Rooted in the Region
With the help of contractors, local businesses, and volunteers, we're planting upwards of 200,000 trees over the next 14 months.

My wife and I were recently debating what type of tree to plant in our front yard. I lobbied for a native cascara, while my wife felt like a red alder would provide more of the privacy and shade we were after. The mighty but slow-growing Oregon white oak was an option too. As I…

Read More