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MSHI Letter of support March 29, 2022 Letter of Support for the Mount St. Helens Lodge & Education Center To Whom It May Concern: Please accept this letter of support for the Mount St. Helens Institute’s (MSHI) efforts to establish a Lodge & Education Center. The Cowlitz County Board of Commissioners supports MSHI’s planned renovation of the under-utilized Coldwater Visitor Center to transform the area from a limited day-use-only site into a campus for outdoor education and recreation. The proposed Lodge & Education Center will expand capacity for outdoor school programs and provide overnight accommodations on the Monument, a first for this historic area. . In particular, the Lodge & Education Center would have an impact on the region by: Providing better access to Mount St. Helens for visitors, including new overnight capacity Expanding outdoor education opportunities for youth in Southwest Washington in the spring and fall months Offering new educational opportunities during summer months for adult participants Creating permanent jobs Generating tax revenues for the county and state through sales and use taxes Since its 1980 eruption, public access to Mount St. Helens has been steadily decreasing; yet fewer than 40 miles away, visits to Mt. Rainier are increasing steadily. We believe that MSHI’s Lodge & Education Center will provide expanded access to the Monument, thus tapping into a growing market for overnight accommodations and amenities in places of interest. We believe that outdoor recreation tourism is an important driver of economic diversification which will enable Cowlitz County to grow long-term as demand for outdoor recreation opportunities surges. Establishing a Lodge & Education Center will take significant time and effort. If MSHI secures the funding for their efforts, it will be a significant first step towards bringing together key stakeholders to invest in an important outdoor recreation attraction. This will improve Washingtonian’s quality of life and act as a regional economic driver. We greatly appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to seeing the impact it will make. Sincerely, Board of County Commissioners Of Cowlitz County, Washington ______________________________ Dennis P. Weber, Chairman _________________________________ Arne Mortensen, Commissioner _________________________________ John Jabusch, Commissioner