Letter: Commit to evaluating park status
Sunday, December 25, 2011
The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, managed by the U.S. Forest Service instead of the National Park Service, appears to be a failed experiment. While the Park Service exists to operate parks and monuments, the Forest Service has never had the funding or the skill set necessary to do so, by design.
I am one of many citizens who have asked Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, to begin a study to evaluate the monument’s national park potential.
When these studies have been conducted elsewhere, regional public input has been crucial; several recent park additions in Alaska have preserved public hunting as a “traditional use,” and there is no reason to assume that could not happen here.
The monument is a neglected national treasure, and this study may demonstrate that there are alternative models for management that can turn things around.
Clark County could benefit tremendously from renewed notoriety and increased visitation at the monument.
Across the nation, national park status has been proved repeatedly to improve visitation, boost the local economy, and better serve the resource.
Please help us urge Rep. Herrera-Beutler to take this important step; request the study, do the science, and let the facts speak for themselves.