Just over a year ago, on October 5, 2021, we came together with supporters at Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver, Washington for our first ‘No Place For A Mine’ event under our new revamped campaign. That evening we formally announced the creation of the Green River Valley Alliance – a coalition of individuals, businesses, organizations, and policymakers organized to achieve the common goal of protecting the Green River Valley and Mount St. Helens from the threat of mining. In the year since, the Alliance has continued to grow so we wanted to take a moment to provide an update and acknowledge our progress!



That first gathering at Trap Door kicked off a series of monthly events in which we presented our campaign, held engaging Q&A sessions, and met hundreds of people who took action to support the campaign! To date, we’ve hosted 11 of these ‘Pint Night’ events at breweries across the region from Portland to Seattle and from Yakima to Packwood. In addition to these larger events, the Alliance has also held a number of smaller tabling sessions at a variety of venues which have offered further opportunities to expand and connect with our growing community of supporters.

The Alliance began working to collect signatures on our petition and business/organization sign-on letter asking Congress to enact a mineral withdrawal. We also produced postcards featuring a watercolor of Mount St. Helens and the Green River Valley by local artist Lindsey Fox, for a letter writing campaign aimed at winning over our federal elected officials. As of today, we have sent hundreds of postcards to federal officials and the Alliance has the endorsement of over 1500 individuals, 33 supporting businesses, and 21 Alliance Partner organizations!


Artist Lindsey Fox visited Goat Mountain and created a watercolor to support the GRVA campaign


In addition to our public outreach, we’ve also been forging relationships with local and regional stakeholders. We’ve met with several local elected officials and are engaging the local forest collaboratives. We have also been working in partnerships with both the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Confederated Bands and Tribes of the Yakama Nation, who are key allies in this work and who strongly oppose mining in this area. Finally, we’ve been strengthening our relationships with our federal elected officials, who we will ultimately need to champion legislation through Congress.

February 2022 was a particularly exciting time for the campaign as we had two exciting announcements to share at our event that month. First, we announced the launch of — a resource for learning about why the Green River Valley and Mount St. Helens are no place for a mine and our mineral withdrawal campaign, receive updates, hear about upcoming events, and take action.

We also were able to share the incredible news that we had won our most recent legal case to stop this mine from moving forward. A US District Court judge ruled that the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management had failed to identify the existing condition of groundwater in the area, did not adequately account for all of the negative impacts on access to the Green River Valley area for recreational purposes, and did not define the length of time over which exploratory drilling would take place. Because of these deficiencies the exploratory drilling permits, originally granted by the agencies in 2018, were canceled–or in legal terminology, vacated. This meant that drilling would not take place in the summer of 2022 and that Ascot Resources, the Canadian mining company that currently holds the mineral rights to the area, would need to start the permitting process over again.


CFC’s Campaign Coordinator, Sean Roome, Executive Director, Molly Whitney, and Policy Manager, Ashley Short with campaign backers, legislative staffers, and representatives of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation


With this legal win behind us, we continued to push forward. This victory may have bought some much-needed time, but it did not provide permanent protections against mining. We know from experience that it is likely that Ascot will seek exploratory drilling permits again.

This summer, we began hosting regular Green River Valley Alliance coalition calls, in which members from our partner organizations came together to share information and strategize about ways to engage the public and move the campaign forward. Alliance partners have assisted in campaign strategizing, written newsletter articles, helped spread our petition, engaged their networks, collected postcards, and shared about our efforts on social media. This collaborative aspect of the Alliance is a key component of our work and these coalition calls are now a cornerstone of this campaign and will remain so moving forward.

In support of our continued work as an Alliance, here are a couple of actions you can take right now to help us maintain the momentum we have built up over the past year. If you have already taken these actions, then please send this to three or more friends, family members, colleagues, neighbors, or anyone else you think may be interested in helping us protect this incredible landscape.




  • Sign on as an Alliance Partner with your business or organization! If you are a business owner or a member of an organization that you believe would be supportive of our work, use this sign-on letter to demonstrate your group’s support for this campaign. To convince elected officials to act, we need backing from the business community!



The Green River Valley Alliance accomplished a great deal in its first year. We’ve pulled together large numbers of concerned citizens, businesses, and organizations representing a variety of viewpoints, backgrounds, and interests around the shared goal of securing a legislative mineral withdrawal to ensure permanent protections for the Green River Valley and Mount St. Helens against the threat of mining. While we are proud of our progress so far, and grateful for all the support we’ve received up to this point, we still have a long way to go. I am optimistic we can make our goal a reality, and I am looking forward to continuing working with all of you to make this a priority issue for our elected officials!



We want to give a special thank you to our incredible Alliance Partners and Supporting Businesses! Thank you for your continued support as we continue to push forward!

American Whitewater; Backcountry Hunters & Anglers – Washington Chapter; Cascade Forest Conservancy; Clark-Skamania Fly Fishers; Columbia Riverkeeper; Conservation Northwest; Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance; Friends of Clark County; Great Old Broads; Mazamas; The Mountaineers; Patagonia; Trans-Cascadia; The Wilderness Society; Vancouver Audubon Society; Vancouver Wildlife League; WA Native Plant Society; Washington Council of Trout Unlimited; Washington Trails Association; Washington Wild; Wild Steelheaders United

Adorn Body Art; Base Camp Coffee; The Bicycle Doctor; Camas Bike & Sport; Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins; Compass Coffee Roasting; Coyote Ridge Ranch; C. Rose’s Ink; Definitely Mabie Consulting LLC; Domaine Pouillon; Full Plate Farm; French’s Farm; Harold’s Burger Bar; Kindred Homestead Supply; Oakshire Beer Hall; Optimism Brewing; Loowit Brewing Company; Lucky No. 3 Tattoo Company; Maple Tree Goatscaping LLC; Medical Vision Center; Monet Vineyards; Mountain Goat Tattoo Co.; North Bank Books; Octopi Ink; Packwood Station; Pariyatti; Raintree Nursery; River House Bake Shop; Roberta Church, Attorney at Law; Shanahans Pub & Grill; Soul Crafted Soap; Thatcher’s Coffee; TNS Archery Outdoors; Trap Door Brewing; Wickering Heights


When the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created it was expected to host 1-2 million visitors a year. It currently receives less than 500 thousand.

Our friends and partners at the Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI), a non-profit that advances understanding and stewardship of the Earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes, are looking for new ways to connect people to the volcano. Recently, they brought a proposal forward in response to the USFS’s public “Request for Expressions of Interest”—a major update to the former Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center that includes a small campground, cabins, 3 small lodges, staff housing, and food service to better meet the needs of their Outdoor School programs as well as meet the needs of other visitors to the Monument through overnight accommodations.

Due to a lack of USFS resources and funding to keep up with maintenance, and declining visitation, the former Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center closed in 2007. However, in 2012, MSHI began partnering with USFS on use of the site for education and community engagement programs. The number of people, primarily youth, served at the site nearly doubled every year from 2011-2017, reaching existing capacity in 2018. It became clear that the current facilities don’t have the capacity or scale of operations necessary for MSHI to operate sustainably and fully realize the educational and community-building potential the Coldwater site holds. 


The current Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center
An illustration of the updated exterior

In response, the MSHI developed a vision to transform the current facility into a world-class, environmentally and financially sustainable, nonprofit facility that provides outdoor school and other educational experiences while expanding access to public land. If realized, MSHI’s planned improvements will also enable Coldwater Ridge to welcome more students and outdoor schools while hosting events and retreats, overnight campers and guests, and more day-use visitors. These additional activities will provide self-sustaining funds needed for regular maintenance and educational programming while increasing access for visitors coming to connect with and experience this unique and inspiring landscape.     

MSHI’s proposal calls for the creation of new lodges to house students attending outdoor schools, improvements to the existing visitor center, 10 new cabins, staff housing, the construction of a new campground, outdoor classrooms and amphitheaters, and more, enabling visitors to experience Mount St. Helens over multiple days rather than a short visit.

According to MSHI, the new developments will be built to Living Building Challenge standards, using the most sustainable building materials and practices available. Because of the existing infrastructure (including multiple buildings and large parking area), there will be only limited impacts on the landscape outside of areas that have already experienced extensive disturbances. While increased use and development may sometimes result in negative consequences, this site, which is easily accessible from Interstate 5 and lies along the route to the well-used Johnston Ridge Observatory, already experiences significant visitation. In this instance, the upgraded facilities and environmental education provided there could actually help reduce negative impacts while increasing access.

Mount St. Helens is an incredible place that deserves to be sustainably enjoyed and cherished by all. CFC is supportive of the MSHI’s plan to increase access to and appreciation of the natural world–especially for students and outdoor schools. Once the final design and engineering work are complete, the Forest Service will present the plans and an analysis of their potential impacts to the environment for public review and feedback in compliance with processes required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). CFC will participate in the NEPA process and offer feedback and comment to ensure the project will not impact ecosystems and species within the Monument and surrounding landscape.


Once again, the Cascade Forest Conservancy (CFC) has successfully fought off a corporation’s attempt to develop a new open-pit hard rock mine in the Green River Valley, located at the doorstep of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

In February, a US District Court reversed decisions made by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service that had illegally permitted the Canadian mining company, Ascot Resources Ltd., to drill 63 exploratory holes on and around Goat Mountain.

We are thrilled by this recent victory, and grateful to our council at Earthrise Law Center and the Western Mining Action Project, and the many Tribes, organizations, and individuals who have supported our efforts. However, the threat of a mine still looms.

To understand why CFC and our allies are still concerned about the potential of a mine being developed here, and the rationale for what we plan to do about it, it’s helpful to look back at some recent history. 




Many were working against mining interests here decades before the founding or involvement of Cascade Forest Conservancy (established as the Gifford Pinchot Task Force in 1985). Evidence of this history can even be observed in the lines and boundaries seen in present-day maps.

In 1982, Congress was working toward the creation of the country’s first National Volcanic Monument. The Green River Valley was included in the bill drafted as a middle ground between competing proposals backed by conservationists and the timber industry. Despite near-unanimous support for the compromise, the threat of a veto was still very real.


Newspaper clipping from The Oregonian, July 22, 1982. Text reads: WASHINGTON–A 105,400-acre Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument won unanimous approval from the Senate Wednesday, but the preservation proposal apparently faces a veto from President Reagan.
Clipping from an article titled “St. Helens plan passes Senate but faces certain veto” Published in the Oregonian, July 22, 1982


Reagan had recently come into office backing the Sagebrush Rebellion movement and was wary of taking actions that protected public lands. In the end, the bill creating the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was passed and signed into law, but only after the Green River Valley was carved out of the Monument’s boundaries to protect mining interests.

CFC first became involved in the mining fight in 2005 when we formed a coalition that successfully pressured the BLM to deny a hard rock mining permit application submitted by a company then called Idaho General Mines, Inc. 

Then, in 2010, the mineral rights were sold to a Canadian company called Ascot Resources, Ltd. That same year, the Forest Service approved Ascot’s drilling plan without an Environmental Assessment and limited prospecting began that August. When Ascot filed applications for prospecting permits in 2011, CFC took legal action that ultimately resulted in an end to drilling.


A rusty pipe emerging from the ground surrounded by vegetation
Hardware left behind in the Green River Valley from illegal drilling that occurred in 2010.


But only one month after a judge dismissed Ascot’s attempts to restart their drilling operation, the company filed new permit applications which were quickly approved–despite widespread public opposition. This led to another lawsuit and another victory for CFC. But again, quickly after their second defeat, Ascot began working on another permit application, which was eventually approved by the BLM and Forest Service.

CFC once again challenged permits in court. After this latest legal battle, CFC has once again protected the Green River Valley. But history has shown us that court victories will not stop mining companies’ attempts to imperil the life that thrives in the Green River Valley and downstream communities for short-term profits. To really protect this place, we need to finally end the threat of mining here once and for all.




The good news is that momentum is on our side and that permanent protections for the Green River Valley are within sight.

Cascade Forest Conservancy is ramping up efforts to secure a legislative mineral withdrawal. A mineral withdrawal is a federal land management tool that bans mining activities within a defined boundary. Unlike other land management tools, a mineral withdrawal would not impact other permitted activities within its boundaries. Getting this done through Congress rather than through administrative channels will ensure that these protections for the Green River Valley can’t easily be undone by the whims of a future administration.


An arial map showing the current boundary of the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and CFC's proposed mineral withdrawal
Our proposed mineral withdrawal would protect the areas removed from the monument to avoid a veto.


Our efforts to convince Congress to act will succeed if we work together. CFC’s new campaign, the Green River Valley Alliance (GRVA), is working to do exactly that. The GRVA is a growing coalition of conservation organizations and businesses, including Conservation Northwest, Washington Wild, and Patagonia, who are publicly expressing their support for our proposed mineral withdrawal.

We also know that the support of community members is just as (or more) important to winning Congressional action as the involvement of partner organizations. Almost 500 people have signed a petition signaling their support for the withdrawal. Many more have attended events, shared information about the campaign on social media, and written postcards to legislators.

What’s next for the Green River Valley? Ultimately, it’s up to all of us to decide. Join us, because together, we will ensure that Mount St. Helens and the Green River Valley are no place for a mine, for good.

Go to the brand new to add your name to our petition, check-out upcoming events, and help spread the word.   



NEWS RELEASE | February 4, 2022

Portland, OR – On Monday, a US District Court, in Portland, vacated agency decisions by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (USFS) which had authorized mining exploration permits that would have allowed mining activities along the northern border of Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington State. The Order concludes a lawsuit brought by Cascade Forest Conservancy (CFC) and represented by Earthrise Law Center and the Western Mining Action Project–their third successful lawsuit challenging the legality of mining permits in the Green River Valley since 2014. 

The judgment follows a ruling filed in February of 2021 that found the Forest Service and BLM violated federal environmental law when they issued permits to drill 63, 2-3 inch diameter exploratory holes in search of copper, gold, and molybdenum from 23 drilling sites across hundreds of acres of the Green River Valley to the Canadian prospecting company Ascot Resources. It held that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by not providing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for public comment, issuing instead a Finding of No Significant Impact (“FONSI”) based on an Environmental Assessment (EA) that failed to accurately represent the length of time over which drilling operations would occur and to account for impacts to groundwater and recreation access.

“This is a major victory for this beautiful landscape and the many communities that would be negatively impacted by a mine,” said CFC’s Executive Director, Molly Whitney, adding that the proposed drilling operations threatened groundwater and the Green River, “a Wild and Scenic River eligible waterway and one of Washington’s few designated gene banks for wild steelhead, in addition to a source of drinking water for thousands of people living in southwest Washington.”





According to CFC, the Order is also a victory for the Indigenous communities of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation who have publicly voiced opposition to the project, and for communities of anglers, hunters, backcountry horseback riders, cyclists, and hikers who cherish the area and bolster the local economy. Thomas Buchele, Co-Director of the Earthrise Law Center, called the USFS and BLM failure to fully disclose the adverse impacts of drilling to outdoor recreational uses “troubling,” adding that “both agencies obviously knew what those impacts would have been but chose not to fully disclose them to the public.”

“As glad as we are,” warned Whitney, “companies have repeatedly applied for and obtained prospecting permits from agencies, despite our record of winning court challenges, and there is no reason to assume that Ascot Resources or another developer won’t succeed in obtaining permits again in the future.” CFC hopes that the recent victory will bolster its efforts to secure a legislative mineral withdrawal for the Green River Valley, “a federal land management tool that prevents mining and prospecting activities within a given area without impacting other permitted uses,” explained Whitney.





“The substantive case before the District Court is over. We won, and the agency decisions are vacated,” said Buchele. “Now is the time for the politicians to get involved, support a mineral withdrawal, and stop this for good.”


A proposed mine here would be an environmental and social disaster–it would be a threat to world-class recreation opportunities and the southwest Washington economies that depend on them. It would negatively impact threatened salmon and steelhead, harm local wildlife populations, and risks contaminating the drinking water of downstream communities. 

To stop this from happening, we’ve built coalitions to oppose this mining effort, raised public awareness about this issue, and stopped a number of attempts to prospect in the area through challenges to permits in federal court. So far, our efforts have succeeded in preventing the development of a mine–but court challenges may not be enough to protect this special part of the Cascades forever. A long-term way to safeguard this landscape is needed. That’s where you come in.

We recently launched a new campaign to secure much-needed legislative action that will grant the Green River Valley permanent protection from mining. The goal of this campaign is to secure a mineral withdrawal for the Green River Valley. In spite of its name, a mineral withdrawal is simply a federal land management tool that prohibits mining activities within a given boundary. It does not impact any other regularly permitted activities within the boundary such as recreation, trail maintenance, camping, or timber harvests. A mineral withdrawal enacted by Congress is the best permanent way to protect the Green River Valley. Take action by joining the growing number of individuals who are signing this petition–tell Congress to act!

Our campaign is just getting started. In addition to signing and sharing the petition above, you can join in other ways too. Attend info-sharing events like the one we hosted earlier this month at Trap Door Brewing in Vancouver, WA, or our upcoming event at Oakshire Beer Hall in Portland, OR (November 17), and keep an eye out for more events, news, and updates in the coming weeks and months. We are grateful for your support. Together with individuals like you, businesses, organizations, and policymakers from around the region, we will show the Green River Valley by Mount St. Helens is #NoPlaceForAMine!