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30Oct/07Off

ALERT: Could Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument be converted to national park?

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SAWS Action Alert

Meeting tonight (10/30/07) at 7:00 PM in the commissioner's hearing room on the forth floor of the county's Administration Building, 207 Fourth Ave. North, in Kelso, WA.

This alert requires your immediate attention.  Sorry for the late notice, but SAWS just found out about this issue late yesterday.

The Cowlitz County Commissioners have decided to reconsider their position to request that the Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Monument be converted into a National Park. SAWS previously notified our Washington and Oregon SAWS members last August about this bad idea to possibly convert the monument into a national park.

With virtually no notice to their constituents, these three individuals have decided to revisit their quest to grab as many federal tax dollars as possible, regardless of the ultimate loss of jobs, loss of quality recreational opportunities and the economic damage to the many small towns who will be devastated by the loss of recreational dollars they receive from hunters, snowmobilers and other recreational groups.

If you are located somewhat near Kelso, WA, and can attend this meeting, please do so. If not, then please e-mail Kathleen A. Johnson, Axel Swanson and George Raiter.  

  • Tell them that turning Mt. St. Volcanic Monument into a National Park is an unacceptable proposition to you.�
     
  • Tell them it takes more than two last minute announced meetings to make a proper determination of this magnitude, when deciding whether to transfer management of Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Monument to the National Park Service. �
     
  • Tell them that the county does not own this land, but that the public owns this land and the public should be able to have reasonable access by snowmobile to the monument.�
     
  • Tell them that the monument is federal managed land, not county managed land, so more than just the local county should be involved with any decisions regarding agency management.

You can reach each of the three Commissioners at this e-mail address:   cowlitz@co.cowlitz.wa.us

Don't let yet another anti motorized group deprive snowmobilers of recreational opportunities at Mt. St. Helens.

Katie Sharkey
Snowmobile Alliance of Western States

Protecting the right to ride for the owners of 303,604 registered snowmobiles (2005) in the western United States.

Copyright © 2007 Snowmobile Alliance of Western States. All Rights Reserved.

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Commissioners rethink national park proposal

By Barbara LaBoe
Oct 29, 2007 - 07:11:55 am PDT

Cowlitz County's commissioners, who first backed a plan to make Mount St. Helens a national park and then seemed to step back from that decision are now asking for the public's thoughts on the matter.

The commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 7 p.m. to gather opinions to re-evaluate making the volcano a national park verus leaving it under the control of the U.S. Forest Service. The meeting is in the commissioner's hearing room on the forth floor of the county's Administration Building, 207 Fourth Ave. North, in Kelso.

Currently, Mount St. Helens is part of a 110,000 national volcanic monument that is part of the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest. Budget cuts and the imminent closure of the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center, though, have led some to question if the volcano and its buildings and trails wouldn't be better off under the national park umbrella.

The change is championed by the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, which has collected support from several local leaders.

Sean Smith, of the national parks group, said the greater stature and recognition of national parks will help boost visitors to the volcano, something that has fallen far short of projections shortly after the 1980 eruption. He also said national parks are better funded and would be able to spend more money on facility maintenance and updates.

Those arguments convinced the commissioners to initially support the change. This summer they sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell backing the change. At an August Mount St. Helens forum, though, Commissioners George Raiter and Axel Swanson announced they were reconsidering their stance after learning more about the implications.

Raiter publically described the change as a "flip flop," saying concerns about what national park air quality standards might do to area mills hadn't been fully discussed when commissioners first decided on the matter

Others at the forum also argued that the monument's problems have to do with money, not management and said the real solution is to get special earmark funding for the volcano's facilities. Outdoors advocates also said the Forest Service will allow more access and hunting than in national parks

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, who hosted the forum, hasn't voiced an opinion one way or the other. Neither has U.S. Sen. Patty Murray. Cantwell's office, in a letter read during the August forum, suggested she was leaning toward the national park status but stopped short of formally endorsing the change

An act of Congress is necessary to transfer the monument from the Forest Service to the National Park Service.

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