At first glance, I knew the FUJIFILM Students of Storytelling project would provide a perfect platform to showcase Mount St Helens, an endangered place I was passionate about. Recent threats from proposed mining and road development could permanently alter this gem. Known pre-blast as the Mount Fuji of America, this mountain is a historical and ecological icon, and I was disheartened that not many people were aware it was in danger.
In 1980, Mount St Helens erupted, causing a catastrophic event, obliterating the surrounding landscape and leaving a wasteland of volcanic rubble and skeletal trees. Since the eruption, the area known as the blast zone has made a remarkable recovery, giving scientists an unparalleled research opportunity.
Like many other wild and scenic places, Mount St Helens has new problems threatening to permanently alter its diverse and fragile landscape. The Pumice Plain, located in the blast zone, is one of the most important areas for research and recreation on the mountain. Plans from the US Forest Service to construct a road in this area would have a massive impact on the ecosystem, research studies, and wild nature of the landscape.
Furthermore, a proposed copper and gold mine near the mountain would have devastating effects on the surrounding Green River watershed. Toxic chemicals necessary for this type of mining have a high risk of entering the river system, harming not only plants and animals, but contaminating the drinking water that thousands depend on downstream.