St. Helens observatory to reopen Saturday

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If you go

What: Johnston Ridge Observatory’s “It’s a Blast” fundraising-season opening event, featuring elk-spotting support and interpretive discussions.

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Where: 24000 Spirit Lake Memorial Highway (end of state Highway 504, 52 miles east of Castle Rock), Toutle.

Cost: $8. Free for teachers with ID, children 15 and younger, and for federal recreation pass holders.

On the Web: Johnston Ridge Observatory

Johnston Ridge Observatory will open Saturday 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 offer 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 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 children 15 and younger and federal recreation pass holders. All proceeds benefit the Mount St. Helen's Institute's education and volunteer programs.