Campgrounds for Mount St. Helens Area?
An advisory panel will recommend against giving Mount St. Helens national park status.
Proponents of taking the 108,000-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument out of the hands of the U.S. Forest Service and putting it into the hands of the National Park Service pointed out that more money would be spent on the mountain in improvements that would allow more people to visit, according to AHN News service.
But opponents argue that it would restrict access for those who are currently enjoying the mountain for elk hunting and snowmobiling.
In comparing Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument to Lassen Volcanic National Park, proponents say the two are a similar size, but the better known St. Helens draws 750,000 visitors annually to Lassen's 400,000 . However, Lassen has 57 roads to St. Helens’ 22 and 10 campgrounds while St. Helens has none.
In addition, Lassen has an annual budget of $5.4 million versus St. Helen's budget of $1.6 million.
Although the committee is recommending against converting St. Helen's to a national park it is recommending that the Forest Service create campgrounds there, reopen a visitors center closed in 2007 – because there wasn't enough money to keep it open – and develop destination resorts in and around the monument.