Trails for everyone, forever

Home News Blog Protect Trails From Mining Near Mount St. Helens

Protect Trails From Mining Near Mount St. Helens

Posted by Francakes at Feb 29, 2016 01:20 PM |

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is requesting comments on a proposal to conduct exploratory mining near Mount St. Helens National Historic Monument.

A view of Mount Rainier from the top of Goat Mountain. Photo by ehiker.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is requesting comments on a proposal to conduct exploratory mining for gold, copper and other minerals near Mount St. Helens National Historic Monument. If approved, the proposal could impact the hiking experience on Goat Mountain, one of Southwest Washington's popular trails.

Speak up for Goat Mountain. Submit your comments by March 19.

The proposal could also harm local water quality and have a significant visual impact for outdoor enthusiasts of all types.

You can read the complete proposal on BLM's website.

Hiker voices needed to preserve Goat Mountain's natural character

The project has the potential to significantly alter Goat Mountain Trail, damage wildlife habitat and goes against the original intent of conserving the land. The Forest Service purchased the mining area lands in 1986 from the Trust for Public Land with funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Exploratory drilling and mining are not compatible with the recreation and conservation purposes LWCF intends, so the Forest Service should not provide consent for this proposal.

If this all sounds familiar, it's because a nearly identical proposal was stopped by the federal district court in Portland, OR in 2014 after BLM approved the project in 2012. At the time, the court found that the U.S. Forest Service’s consent to the project, and BLM’s approval of the exploration permits, violated a number of federal public land and environmental laws.

Map courtesy of Gifford-Pinchot Task Force.

The Gifford Pinchot Task Force, a nonprofit group working to preserve the natural character of the South Cascades, has said the current proposal does not offer any substantive changes from the previous version.

One just has to look at the trip reports submitted each summer to see that Goat Mountain is beloved by trail users of all stripes. In a single vista, the trail offers a rare glimpse of both the destruction of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens alongside the verdant green of new plant life.

Should mining operations begin, these stunning views, along with the serenity and solitude this place offers, could be altered forever. It would also cause increased traffic on forest roads, noise and erosion.

Take action: submit comments by March 19

The Bureau of Land Management is accepting comments on the proposal until March 19. Tell the agency you don't want to see this area mined as it provides unparalleled recreation opportunities for hikers, equestrians, hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts.

We've prepared a letter to get you started, but it will have more impact if you add how you recreate in the South Cascades and why preserving the area's natural character is important to you.


  1. Enter your contact information.

  2. Personalize the message. This step is extremely important and let's BLM know you care about this place.

  3. Send your email before March 19.