Mount St. Helens to commemorate 35th anniversary of eruption

It’s been 35 years since Mount St. Helens blew its top and officials are preparing to commemorate the anniversary of the state’s most memorable natural disaster.

The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument has events planned May 16-18 for the anniversary. The eruption was May 18, 1980.

Monument officials recently announced the following events.

Johnston Ridge Observatory opening

May 16, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Johnston Ridge Observatory opens for the summer with a family-oriented science education event called “It’s a Blast.” The observatory has several interpretive opportunities, nearby hiking trails and close-up (5 miles away) view of Mount St. Helen’s crater. Admission is $8 for adults and free for kids. Check mshinstitute.org for more information.

The road to the observatory, state Route 504, is open.

Eruption Eyewitness Stories

May 17, 11:45 a.m.-5 p.m.

People whose lives were changed by the 1980 eruption will speak at the Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center. The 30-minute talks include photos and accounts of the eruption, the mudflows, landslide, ash cloud and the aftermath. Admission is free, but books and posters are available for purchase. Geologist Richard Waitt will be at the event autographing copies of his new book “In the Path of Destruction” (Washington State University Press, 2015, $22.95).

To find the Science and Learning Center, formerly the Coldwater visitor center, take Exit 49 off Interstate 5 and head east on state Route 504. Continue past the turnoff to Johnston Ridge and continue straight ahead a short distance and into the Science and Learning Center parking lot. It is 43 miles east of I-5.

Anniversary Ceremony

May 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Science and Learning Center will host anniversary day events. A ceremony is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. At noon, a series of science-related presentations start, with scientist describing discoveries made over the past 35 years and staging hands-on demonstrations. A device used to monitor active volcanoes also will be on display.