|The 3,940-acre Mount Saint Helens Wildlife Area is located in Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties. It is managed in 15 units, one covering 2,744 acres and the others totaling just under 1,200 acres altogether. The North Fork Toutle River flows through the wildlife area where it merges with one of its major tributaries, Hoffstadt Creek. Bear Creek, a tributary of Hoffstadt, flows along the northern border of the wildlife area for over three miles.
Since WDFW established the wildlife area in 1990, elk have received the most attention because of the area’s critical role as winter range. Federally threatened steelhead trout and Coho salmon, and cutthroat trout are also key in the Toutle watershed. Fish passage was not part of the design of a sediment retention dam built after the 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount Saint Helens, so WDFW operates a collection facility downstream and trucks fish to tributaries for spawning.
Other wildlife use is diverse, including the western toad (federal species of concern), Pacific tree frog, northwestern garter snakes, northern alligator lizard, western meadowlark, mallard, wood duck, common nighthawk, bald eagle, black-tailed deer, coyote, and cougar.