On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted covering the region in volcanic ash. The north face of the mountain collapsed and started an avalanche that scoured about 150 square miles of forest. The explosion killed 57 people. It was the deadliest volcanic explosion in the history of the United States. 

The Volcano sits about 45 miles northeast of Portland in southwest Washington. Residens of area cities wore face masks for weeks as they dealt with the falling ash that turned everything gray.

On August 27, 1982, a 110,000-acre National Volcanic Monument at the site was created. While letting the enviornment heal from the eruptions on its own, the park has been used for research and recreation.