Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Case Study: Mount St Helens

Reasons for growth in Volcanic Tourism industry:
  • Improvements in air travel made places like Hawaii more accessible
  • Global media coverage has increased public awareness of these events
  • World Heritage sites raise profile of places like Giant's causeway
Mt St Helens:
  • Strato volcano in Cascade mountain range
  • Before 1980 it attracted people to hunt, ski and hike
  • Spirit Lake at its base was popular area for fishing, boating and swimming
  • Forests were commercially logged
  • 1980 people flocked to see eruption
  • Vechicles blocked road to spirit lake
  • Souvenir trade: ash in glass vials, tshirts, mugs
  • Forestry service sought safe spots where people could view eruption
  • Mobile trailers set up to show film footage
  • More violent than predicted
  • Claimed 57 lives


  • Spirit Lake Memorial Highway
  • Large bridges
  • Five visitor centres
  • Mt St Helens Volcanic Monument established
  • Several interpretative trails
  • sediment retention structure
  • Pumice plain receeded
  • Outlets cut to release water from lakes created when avalanches dammed streams to decrease flood risk
  • Tunnel constructed at Spirit Lake to maintain safe water level
Tourism Issues:
  • Only one road leads to site
    • pressure on observatory
    • other attractions help
  • Erosion - hardened park area with 420 vehicle capacity
  • Destruction by vistors
    • trampling can damage pioneer speicies
    • $100 fine for stepping on or picking wildflowers

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