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Family saved from volcano goes back to Mount St. Helens

SEATTLE -- The Moore family, plucked two years ago from the devastation of an erupting Mount St. Helens, will return to the mountain Saturday in an effort to preserve it.

Mike and Lu Moore and their two daughters were camping on the mountain 12 miles north of Green River on May 18, 1980, when the volcano returned to life in a cataclysmic blast.

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Campers just miles away were asphyxiated or crushed to death, but the Moores were rescued when a military helicopter crew spotted them picking their way through toppled trees, trying to escape the blast zone.

The Moores have since become members of the Mount St. Helens Protective Association, an environmental coalition seeking to have the area around the volcano preserved as a national monument.

They will hike up the Green River on Saturday to commemorate the second anniversary of the mountain's big eruption.

Lu Moore said she became involved in the cause 'partly because of the eruption,' and sees no contradiction in helping save the mountain that almost killed her and her family.

'The mountain may be different, but it's still important,' she said.

It won't be their first trip back to their would-be gravesites. The Moores returned just three months after their ill-fated camping trip to search -- successfully -- for a $600 pair of binoculars.

It was on that trip that Lu Moore was moved to join the movement to preserve the mountain.

'Standing on the road cut up above, we saw the effects of the eruption on either side of us, and that little pocket of virgin forest that had protected us,' she said. 'It was like a finger, pointing toward the mountain, saying, 'You've been saved, now do something about it.''

Bills now pending in Congress would establish a 'national volcanic area' around St. Helens. The area would cover between 85,000 and 110,000 acres.

While both proposals would include the Moores' campsite, their environmental group wants the monument roughly doubled, to 216,000 acres.

Bonnie, now 6, and her father may camp along the Green Saturday night. But Lu Moore said she won't because she has to work Sunday.

'Actually, it's a pretty convenient excuse,' she said. 'I'm not sure I'd want to camp in that valley again. I don't think I'm ready for that yet.'

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