The Columbia Land Trust is announcing the completion of the purchase of more than 2,300 acres of land near Mt. St. Helens, noted as the largest land purchase in the organization’s 23-year history. The Vancouver Columbian is reporting on the purchase, which takes in a large patch of land north of Swift Reservoir. This is the second phase of a larger plan called the Mt. St. Helens Project, eventually targeting about 20,000 acres south of the mountain. The Columbia Land Trust says that this is the first step in the acquisition of the Pine Creek Conservation Area, securing a large parcel of land on the east side of that creek. The $5.7 million purchase is being funded through a federal grant. The Trust is also working to secure another 3,000 acres on the west side of the creek, followed by another 7,800 acres near Swift Reservoir. It’s noted that the purchase will not prohibit development or logging in the area, but those activities will be balanced with preservation of sensitive habitat. Third District Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is praising the move as a great partnership of a conservation group, a private forest landowner and a local government.