The May 18, 1980 Mount Saint Helens volcanic eruption blew the top off the mountain -- and blew away a popular Washington State campground. Harry Gardener Park, an 80-acre park vanished under three feet of mud and debris. Now Cowlitz County officials want to resurrect the campground portion of the park and encourage more visitation to the nearby mountain.
The county says the "new" park will be a bit smaller than it was before, with 11 RV sites, 12 for tenters, and a dump station, as the RV sites will be partial utility sites. Work on the new/old park will get underway in just a few weeks, and the park could open as early as June--a few weeks after the volcano's anniversary date.
The park is already operational as a 17 acre day-use park. You'll find it on the south fork of the Toutle River off Fiest Road in Castle Rock. The park has walking trails, roads, picnic tables, benches, fire pits, barbecues, play area with swings, horseshoe pits and beach volley ball.