As eruption anniversary approaches, programs offered at Mount St. Helens Visitors Center

Walks, demonstrations and interactive talks all included in this year’s programs as May 18 eruption anniversary nears

As the 38th anniversary of the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens approaches, Washington State Parks has announced a series of programs exploring the volcanic event and the region’s subsequent recovery.

Mount St. Helens. Photograph provided by NOAA
Mount St. Helens. Photograph provided by NOAA

This year’s events will take place between May 18 and Sept. 3 at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, located at 3029 Spirit Lake Highway, Castle Rock, and at Seaquest State Park, which is located directly across the road.

Interactive talks, demonstrations and guided walks focused on the area’s history and ecosystem are all included in this year’s programs.

Here’s a look at what’s being offered this summer:

Mount St. Helens Formal Talks

Hourly, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Fri.-Sun., May 18 to 27

Hourly, 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., daily, June 1 to Sept. 3

These interactive talks will immerse visitors in the history of Mount St. Helens. Participants will travel through time to learn about the devastating 1980 eruption, the ever-changing landscape and story of recovery, the incredible return of wildlife and the important job volcanologists perform every day monitoring the Cascade Mountain range of volcanoes. Programs will last 15 to 20 minutes and take place outside at the amphitheater.

Junior Ranger Evening Lessons

7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, June 1 to Sept. 1, Seaquest State Park

These family-friendly evening programs, held at Seaquest State Park amphitheater, are geared toward kids of all ages and last approximately one hour. They provide the perfect blend of learning and entertainment for families camping at Seaquest or at the end of a long day trip. Park staff will give lessons on the local and regional wildlife, geology and ecosystems. Fun interactive crafts and activities are also scheduled.

Wetland Guided Walks

10 a.m., Sundays, June 3 to Sept. 2

Visitors will explore the wetland ecosystem of Silver Lake on a flat, slow-paced, 45-minute guided walk. Created from a Mount St. Helens eruption thousands of years ago, this area is home to unique flora and fauna, as well as an abundance of migratory birds.

All programs are subject to cancellation due to inclement weather, staffing availability and attendance levels. Program information is advertised daily on the Visitor Center front bulletin.

Programs are included in the admission cost to the Visitor Center, which is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 1 to May 15, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 16 to Sept.15. Admission is $2.50 for ages 7 to 17; $5 for ages 18 and older; $15 for families (two adults plus accompanying children) and free for children age 6 or younger. Donations are welcome.

For more information about the interpretive programs, contact Alysa Adams, Parks Interpretive Specialist, (360) 274-0962 or silver.lake@parks.wa.gov.

Learn more about the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center: parks.state.wa.us/245/Mount-St-Helens

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