Welcome to the Toutle Valley!

I'm starting this blog to help visitors find the many things to do around Mount St. Helens and the Toutle Valley.  Our area is surrounded by adventure, high and low, but it's sometimes genuinely hard to find information about these special places.  Before our volcano erupted, the Spirit Lake Hwy followed the Toutle River all the way to Spirit Lake and Mount St. Helens with easy-to-find adventure around every bend.  The route was lined with campgrounds, river access, logging roads, trails open to all,  and vast areas to explore. 

Today its different--With all the passes, permits, and rules, it's a tangle of red tape to just understand where you can go for a walk.  Don't dispair!  I know all the secrets... and I might even be asking for your help to make the area more accessible. 

Consider this blog your "insider's guide" to the Toutle Valley.  

Posted By Toutle Trekker

The Gifford Pinchot National Forest, of which Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a sub-section, is planning to plan again.  This time they actually want to remove facilities like restrooms, picnic tables, and parking spaces.  Mount St. Helens has some of the most extensive (and expensive) sites in the Forest, with water systems, buildings, actual flush toilets and paved parking lots.  For years locals like myself have pushed for more "things to do" and less regulation at the Monument, especially along the Spirit Lake Hwy (SR 504), where the posted rules far exceed the planned rules.  A few years ago, in a response to a push to transfer Mount St. Helens to the Park Service, a new plan, called the Strategic Investment Plan, proposed adding amenities and activities to the Monument.  Some ideas included purchasing the High Lakes area, adding campsites along Coldwater Lake, allowing camping or overnight parking at Coldwater Science and Learning Center, and building new trails including a short connector trail linking the Lakes and South Coldwater trails and a route to Castle Lake.  A brand new campground along the Kalama River was in the works.  Some preliminary planning was completed, but now all those improvement ideas are on-hold, and the USFS is focused on removing infrastructure! 

If you want to comment, here's the link, with the survey in the middle of the page.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/giffordpinchot/recreation/?cid=FSEPRD578910

Tell the Forest Service to improve opportunities at Mount St. Helens as promised in the Strategic Investment Plan, not remove sites. 


 

 

 
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