Push persists for St. Helens national park

VANCOUVER — Advocates of turning Mount St. Helens into a national park aren’t ready to give up on the idea, despite an advisory committee’s recommendation to keep it with the U.S. Forest Service.

Mark Smith, longtime owner of the EcoPark Resort west of the volcano and one of 14 members of the advisory committee, joined fellow committee member Mark Plotkin in standing against the committee’s recommendation.

“We were supposed to do a vision of what we want to see, Smith said. “That vision most looks like a national park.”

The committee hasn’t yet delivered its final report to U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Reps. Brian Baird and Norm Dicks.

When it does, the state’s congressional delegation can expect to hear a “minority report” from Smith and Plotkin. The pair generally endorsed the committee’s specific recommendations, but Smith said he has no confidence in the Forest Service’s ability to carry out the vision.