Owned and Operated by eye witnesses of the May 18 1980, eruption.
Eco Park Resort is owned and operated by husband and wife team Mark and Dawn Smith. Both Washington natives, each witnessing this incredible natural wonder back in 1980, seeing the eruption from different sides of the mountain. They met a decade and a half later, married and share their unique 80-acre eco resort with visitors from around the world.
Eco Park Resort provides the closest accommodations to the mountain along the Spirit
Lake Memorial Highway, Washington SR 504.
Eco Park Resort is founded from a rich family heritage, influenced by generations spent around Mount St. Helens, Spirit Lake and the Toutle Valley. Memories of the natural beauty, the perfect snow capped peak before the eruption, the natural rebirth from the ash have mirrored the Smith family and their own journey back.
The Smith family's lodge, buried over 500 feet deep by the volcanic event.
While Eco Park Resort was started in ’95, the Smith families ties to the mountain dates back well before the 1980 eruption. The family owned and operated Spirit Lake Lodge, located at base of Mt St Helens. The property was lost in the volcanic holocaust, estimated to be under 500 feet of mud and ash, along with precious family photo albums and memories.
Spirit Lake Lodge has often been confused with the ledgendary lodge owner Harry Truman, the man who stayed behind and was lost in the eruption. Harry was a friend of the family, and owned a neighboring lodge called Mount St. Helens Lodge located at Spirit Lake.
Originally Spirit Lake Lodge was part of the Gustophson family homestead, original settlers of Spirit Lake dating back to the early 1900's, the Spirit Lake Lodge was purchased in the early 1970's by David P. and Mariam E. Smith, and ran as a family business with their oldest son, Robert, as manager of the lodge.
After the eruption and the loss of the Lodge, the Federal Government confiscated the property, paying just $2000 dollars, to Dave and Mariam Smith for their 3.5 acres of commerical property, pre eruption property tax value was estimated over $ 36,000, this adding to the families loss.
A new generation continues...
After a decade of silence, The Smith family returned to Mt St Helens in 1992. Starting,
Mt St Helens Adventure Tours, offering the first off road access into the heart of the
blast zone. In 1993 they added the " Tent and Breakfast" a unique overnight accommodation allowing visitors to spend the night in the ‘blast zone’. This was the only one of its kind, allowing visitors a chance to do more than view the eruption, but to experience the
changing landscape and rebirth. This time, teaming up with their youngest son, Mark
(who still runs all the operations today).
Dave Smith had planned to retire and guide, by driving one of the tour vans, but his life was
cut short by cancer. Leaving wife Mariam and Mark to continue.
Today, with his parents memory and dedication to his family, Mark and his wife, Dawn,
continue to manage and operate Mount St. Helens Tours, Inc. Featuring; Eco Park Resort,
Mt St Helens Stables and The Backwoods Cafe. Providing visitors with a truly unique, rustic
and memorable experience.