In Focus: Stunning Views and Mountain Goats as Johnston Ridge Reopens

Center at Mount St. Helens Opens for First Time in Three Years


Mountain goats and their kids were visible from the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mount St. Helens this Wednesday evening as the observatory closed for the night after its second day open in three years due to COVID-19.

According to a Facebook post by the Mount St. Helens institute, much of the mountain goat population there was killed off in the 1980 blast. However, “40 years later, those hillsides are full of shrubs and wildflowers, creating the perfect mountain goat habitat, and the population appears to be thriving.”

The post continued: “We'll be watching to see how mountain goats fare as the blast zone returns to forest in the decades to come within the living laboratory that is the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.”

As greenery is slow to creep up in the volcano’s shadow, wildlife of the area are easily visible from up on the ridge, including elk, hawks, grouse and the goats.

The observatory, located at 24000 Spirit Lake Highway, Toutle, is open daily through the summer from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and offers interpretive displays about the mountain, ranger talks and a gift shop.

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