May 18th Commemoration and Volunteer Celebration

Release Date: May 1, 2012  

The 32nd anniversary of the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens brings many new experiences for visitors to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the Volunteers in the National Forests Act of 1972. Forest Service and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument officials will recognize volunteers in honor of this event to help inaugurate the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater.

Johnston Ridge Observatory will open for the season on May 13, 2012, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mount St. Helens Institute’s “It’s a Blast” event is scheduled for May 12. See for more on this and other events.

“We are excited to reopen for the season once again. The opening week and the May 18th anniversary are special times to visit Mount St. Helens and wonderful opportunities to see the changing landscape and Forest Service investments at this unique National Volcanic Monument,” said Monument Manager, Tom Mulder. “Entrance to Johnston Ridge Observatory will be free on May 18th, and all the new displays, films and programs are ready for visitor enjoyment. Please join us as we devote this special day to recognizing and honoring our valuable volunteers.”

Visitors to Johnston Ridge Observatory (JRO) at the end of State Route 504 can view the award-winning Eruption of Life, tour new exhibits and see the new amphitheater. A BBQ lunch will be available in the JRO parking area at noon to raise funds for the Mount St. Helens Institute.

At 1 p.m. there will be a walking tour of the refurbished Coldwater Center, now the Science and Learning Center at Coldwater. “This is an opportunity to see the progress of Forest Service investments in the Coldwater facility and learn about the promising potential for community participation in expanding educational and recreation programs,” said Mulder. “We are looking for partners willing to make a home in this new Science and Learning Center, and I am particularly eager to find a skilled local food service willing to re-open the restaurant by the May 18th anniversary next year. Please come join us, and rediscover the possibilities.”

The 1980 eruption commemoration ceremony at Science and Learning Center at Coldwater will follow the tour at about 1:30. Volunteers and volunteer organizations will be honored following the commemoration. National, regional and Mount St. Helens volunteers will be recognized. Volunteer organizations will also be on hand to share information about their organizations.

Other activities this day will include:

  • Another chance to tour Coldwater at 2:30 p.m.
  • A guided hike on the Hummocks Trail with Monument Scientist, Peter Frenzen at 3 p.m.
  • A chance to head back up to JRO for the movie, exhibits and ranger talks at 3 p.m.

For more information and to keep up on all the happenings at Mount St. Helens, please go to: