Columbia Land Trust today announced that it has purchased 2,330 acres of contiguous forestlands and critical riparian habitat on the southern flanks of Mount St. Helens. The purchase permanently conserves some nine miles of Pine Creek and its major tributary. A clear, cold-water mountain stream, Pine Creek is prime habitat for bull trout, a threatened species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Columbia Land Trust acquired the land from Pope Resources, a publicly traded timberland company based in Poulsbo, Washington. The purchase was made with a grant from the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (under Section 6 of the Endangered Species Act), the federal program that provides funding to states for species and habitat conservation on non-federal lands. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources administered the grant.
Dubbed Pine Creek East, the conserved property covers nearly four square miles and is the single-largest purchase ever made by Columbia Land Trust in its 23-year history for land that will remain under its ownership and management. The purchase also represents several years of coordinated efforts by Columbia Land Trust, Pope Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Skamania County to map an intelligent future for Mount St. Helens forestlands that balances the needs of Pacific Northwest people and communities with the habitat needs of Pacific Northwest wildlife.
"This project brings together loggers, hunters, fishers, wildlife enthusiasts as well as federal, state, and local governments to prove conservation is a powerful force in the Northwest that can benefit people and nature," says Columbia Land Trust Executive Director Glenn Lamb.