Johnston Ridge Observatory to open May 11

Johnston Ridge Observatory will open Saturday, May 11, with the “It’s a Blast” event hosted by the Mount St. Helens Institute.

The event is a public outreach and fundraising event benefiting the institute and serves to kick off the visitor season at Johnston Ridge Observatory.

MSHI partners with the Forest Service to help staff the visitor centers all year, and this year’s opening showcases additional educational offerings at the nearby Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater, formerly known as the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Center. Both facilities will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

MSHI volunteers will be offering elk spotting support and interpretative discussions at both centers as well as guided hikes on the Hummocks Trail. Forest Service rangers will give their regular ranger talks, and the award-winning movies about the 1980 eruption will be showing.

Admission costs $8 but the fee is waived for teachers who show identification. Admission is free for youth 15 and under and federal recreation pass holders. All proceeds benefit the Mount St. Helen’s Institute’s education and volunteer programs.