Trust conserves 20,000 acres on southern slopes of Mount St. Helens

Source: KATU News

MOUNT ST. HELENS — Twenty-thousand acres along the southern slopes of Mount St. Helens are safe after 10 years of negotiations.

Columbia Land Trust has struck a deal to conserve a chunk of Skamania County’s forests.

Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell helped celebrate the deal at a news conference Monday. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was there too.

They both said public lands projects like these protect natural beauty while bringing in revenue for the state.

"It's $26 billion in our state and over 200,000 jobs, so we can say that public lands is a great economy and today is another investment toward that great economy," said Cantwell.

"It's an iconic treasure that we want to pass on for generations to come," Herrera Beutler said.

A timber company called Pope Resources had claims on some of the now-protected land. It was a key stakeholder in the decade of negotiations as were Skamania County leaders.