Popular Mount St. Helens Recreation Site Vandalized  

Release Date: Oct 13, 2021

Contact: Gala Miller, 360-891-5014

Smashed toilet at Coldwater LakeVancouver, WA – Forest Service law enforcement officials are investigating recent damage at the popular Coldwater Lake Recreation Area at Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument within Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

On October 9th or 10th, the restrooms at Coldwater Lake Recreation Area picnic site were vandalized. Three toilets and one urinal were completely smashed. Sink fixtures and plumbing were also damaged. These facilities will remain closed into the foreseeable future, which will negatively affect visitor’s experience at this year-round destination. Restrooms at the boat launch remain open at this time.

If anyone has information about the vandalism or saw anything that could help police make an arrest, please report this information to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s office: 360-577-3098.

“It is disheartening that this vandalism has occurred,” said Rebecca Hoffman, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument Ranger, “It will take time before these restrooms are able to be repaired, which negatively impacts this popular recreation site.  To fix the damage it will cost an estimated $10,000 or more, and unfortunately this will divert already limited staff and funds from managing and maintaining other recreation facilities on the forest.”

Under the Code of Federal Regulations 36CFR.09a damaging any property of the United States may result in a maximum fine of $5000 and /or 6 months in jail. Restitution could also be awarded to recoup losses.  This level of destruction of government property is also a felony under United States code.

According to local law enforcement officers, theft and vandalism on the forest are increasing significantly. If people see others vandalizing recreation sites or ecological resources on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, they should report it as soon as possible.

The public should call 911 or the county sheriff’s non-emergency phone line to report crimes. When reporting crime, it is helpful to gather as much information about the incident as possible such as: description of people, location and/or license plate. If it feels safe to capture photos and video of an incident, this can be useful as well.

  • Skamania County Sheriff’s Office - 509-427-9490
  • Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office - 360-577-3098
  • Lewis County Sheriff’s Office - 360-740-1105