Mount St. Helens

Michael Sulis.

No exploratory drilling in Washington’s Mount St. Helens

Please protect Mount St. Helens from mining and withdraw the Forest Service’s draft decision to consent to hardrock prospecting permits near Goat Mountain. Mining exploration and development is inconsistent with public recreation in this area, threatens clean water for local communities and wild steelhead, and would set a terrible precedent for the millions of acres of public lands protected through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Mount St. Helens provides exceptional backcountry recreational opportunities bordering the iconic Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The constant drilling and noise due to the proposed exploratory drilling would disrupt recreation within the valley. Also, drilling additives and waste could pollute the Green River, which is a proposed Wild and Scenic River that provides water to downstream communities and supports federally-listed wild steelhead populations. These treasured public lands and waters should be protected in perpetuity, not opened to mine prospecting. I object to this draft decision and request that the Forest Service withdraw their consent for exploratory drilling within Mount St. Helens and provide a visionary alternative to permanently protect this beautiful valley from future mining.


Why this place matters

Mount St. Helens is a remote destination for true wilderness recreation experiences in Washington’s South Cascades.

Located more than two hours from Portland, and accessible only by one single-lane U.S. Forest Service road, Mount St. Helens is sought out by hunters, anglers, equestrians and backpackers looking to escape into the Washington wilderness. Here, the Green River winds in and out of the iconic Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, along whose northeastern border the valley is situated. Mount St. Helens is a place of stunning scenery and unbound backcountry recreation opportunities.

The threat

A Canadian mining company has been trying for more than a decade to conduct exploratory drilling for copper, gold and molybdenum in Mount St. Helens, on the very land that was protected for its conservation and recreation values decades ago. Mining activities would not only permanently destroy the beauty of the valley and myriad recreational opportunities, they would also pollute the Green River, which provides critical aquatic habitat and drinking water for the downstream communities of Kelso and Castle Rock.

Years ago, the Forest Service acquired these lands with the express purpose to preserve the area’s scenic beauty and the ecological integrity of the Green River that flows into the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.