Volcano observatory opening May 10



The Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mount St. Helens will open for the 2014 season May 10, the U.S. Forest Service announced.

The observatory, at the east end of state Highway 504, will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the forest service, which manages the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The observatory sits just north of the mountain. The Mount St. Helens Science and Learning Center at Coldwater, also along Highway 504, is already open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. That facility will extend its afternoon hours to 6 p.m., according to the forest service.

Admission for both facilities is $8 per person, or free for children 15 and younger. Both offer a handful of free admission days, including May 18, the anniversary of the mountain’s catastrophic 1980 eruption. Admission is also free June 7 and 14 and Sept. 27.

Highway 504 is not yet open all the way to the Johnston Ridge Observatory, said Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman Abbi Russell. WSDOT typically coordinates the seasonal opening of the highway with the forest service each spring.