On May 18, 1980 at 8:32 a.m., a magnitude 5.1 earthquake triggered one of the world's largest recorded landslides, followed by one of the most powerful volcanic blasts in the history of North America: Mount St. Helens.
That morning, twenty-three square miles of the mountain blasted sideways at 650 m.p.h. The temperature reached 660 degrees Fahrenheit as it choked life around it. A flow of rock fragment, hot gases and super-heated steam raced down the mountain at 200 miles per hour, devastating everything in its path. An ash cloud billowed 17 miles into the sky, circling the entire earth.
Fifty-seven people lost their lives.
Part of the forest destroyed that day was under our care, we’ve owned a tree farm there since 1900. Nearly 63,000 acres of it — from young trees through ready timber — was devastated.
Within months, based on a sound forest management plan, we began planting 18 million seedlings. By hand.
Today, located just inside the blast zone, our free forest learning center is full of amenities and exhibits that tell the story of Mount St. Helens and the return of the forest through interactive exhibits, hands-on activities and exciting visual display. We invite you to visit us and relive this great story of recovery.