The Forest Service has just issued a decision allowing a foreign mining company, Ascot Resources, to conduct exploratory drilling in the pristine Green River valley near Mount St. Helens. This is the first step toward developing a large copper, gold, and molybdenum mine on these treasured public lands and waters bordering the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
The Forest Service originally purchased the Green River valley to promote conservation and public recreation, not for mining. Mining exploration or development in the Green River valley threatens recreation, water quality, fish and wildlife, and sets a terrible precedent for public lands nationwide.
People come to this area to enjoy solitude and outdoor recreation activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, mountain biking and horseback riding. This are provides unique backcountry recreation opportunities in a volcanic landscape and clean water for communities and wild steelhead. Popular recreation areas include the Goat Mountain and Green River trails, and the neighboring Mount Margaret Backcountry area. For two decades, the Green River Horse Camp and several trails open to stock use in the area, including Vansen Peak, Green Mountain, Strawberry Mountain, and Goat Mountain, have been popular destinations for equestrians, hikers, campers and hunters.