Mount St. Helens Institute plans to redevelop the former U.S. Forest Service Coldwater Visitor Center and 22 surrounding acres into a world-class home for residential environmental education at the National Volcanic Monument. Hennebery Eddy helped the nonprofit create a road map for a sustainable and equitable new campus with design rooted in the Living Building Challenge. The campus plan covers 17 new and renovated structures, including a dining and education center, residential lodges and cabins, campgrounds, and multiple open-air gathering structures that emphasize the richness of the site and the institute’s programs through environmental and operational sustainability.
There is currently no overnight lodging and few developed campgrounds within 30 miles of Mount St. Helens, so access is mostly limited to day-use activities. The expanded facilities will provide opportunities for summer camps and recreational stays, drawing more people to the mountain for immersive experiences. Supported by a detailed programming effort in partnership with USFS and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, we outlined multiple site options that address the wide range of anticipated users, safety considerations, universal accessibility needs, variety of indoor and outdoor learning spaces, and future program growth. Roads and trails work together with strategically placed buildings and vegetation to create a unique sense of place and foster a strong connection to the site.