One new trail near Mount St. Helens is under construction this summer and another, along with camping areas, is under consideration.
Volunteers from the Washington Trails Association are building a 1-mile trail linking the Ape Cave trail head to a scenic viewpoint featuring Mount St. Helens’ southern flank. It’s scheduled to be done by October.
Next year, the Forest Service will do an environmental analysis of a proposed trail connecting the Hummocks Trail near Coldwater Lake with Castle Lake, which is currently accessible only by a long drive over Weyerhaeuser Co. and state logging roads.
Lisa Romano, community engagement specialist for the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, said the Forest Service would likely put in a temporary bridge over the north fork of the Toutle River every summer because a permanent one would likely wash away.
The agency is also doing an environmental analysis of establishing two camping areas near the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater (formerly known as the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center). One area would be for camping for educational groups while the could offer tent and RV sites and cabins for the general public. Public comment on this proposal will begin in the next few months, Romano said.
Also next year, the Forest Service will evaluate a proposal for new camping spots on Coldwater Lake, which would be accessible for hikers and boaters. Only guided groups would be allowed to camp, to limit damage to the land.
A water trail around Coldwater Lake, with interpretive signs for boaters, also is under consideration.