National Forest Foundation

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Volunteers Give Back and have fun at a unique Friends of the Forest Weekend!


July 7 and 8 more than 60 volunteers spent the weekend at the Coldwater Science and Learning Center at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Under the watchful eye of Mount St. Helens, volunteers contributed 335 hours of labor and had a little fun while doing so.

July 7 and 8 more than 60 volunteers spent the weekend at the Coldwater Science and Learning Center at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Under the watchful eye of Mount St. Helens, volunteers contributed 335 hours of labor and had a little fun while doing so.

On Saturday, volunteers prepped and repainted four information kiosks, repaired and refurbished two miles of trails and constructed a quarter mile of new trail. Ten people received Volcano Volunteer interpretive training to help share the volcano and its history for future visitors. Volunteers also developed six new tent pads and installed 15 signs and 20 fence posts. In need of some love, the deck rails at the Center also received a fresh coat of paint.

Saturday evening, volunteers were treated to a concert at the Johnston Ridge Observatory by bands Lincoln’s Beard and Riviera, with none other than Mount St. Helens as a backdrop.

Later, volunteers were treated to a large tub of Nutella and giant marshmallows with which to enjoy s’mores, in keeping with the camping tradition. The marshmallows were cold of course, since fires are not allowed in the Monument…

Thanks to the Vancouver Sidewalk Astronomers, who arrived with some of the largest portable telescopes we had ever seen, volunteers were treated to a luminous night sky! Seven volunteer astronomers and their scopes provided various different views of the incredible sky on a near moonless night. Views included Saturn, the Andromeda Galaxy, M13, and a star nebula.

To enjoy some of the beautiful scenery they’d been working in the day before, volunteers had the opportunity to explore the area on Sunday. Activities available included kayaking on Coldwater Lake and a guided hike on the hummocks trail with Forest Service interpretive staff.

NFF would like to give a huge thanks to our partners—the U.S. Forest Service, Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument, Cowlitz Economic Development Council, and the Mount St. Helens Institute. Without their collaboration and support, this weekend would not have been possible.

Click here to view photos.