How Mt. St. Helens eruption affected Washington State’s Economy
On Sunday, May 18, 1980, at 8:32am, Mt. St. Helen’s erupted. Most people don’t realize how the eruption affected our economy. It affected Washington’s forestry / forest production, trade, transportation, topography, fisheries, and wildlife. Our Economy lost millions of dollars. Let’s see how it affected our economy.
First, let’s start with forestry/forest production. This affected companies which had been logging. The companies had to cut back on logging while the blasted timber was being harvested. Although the lack of timber caused fluctuations in the market prices for logs, such variation were outweighed in large measures by the downward pressure on market prices generated by the depressed level of the economy. Also, the presence of the ash on the ground and on the logs presented serious problems in harvesting of the logs, and their processing into products. The ash, being gritty in nature, caused extensive wear on chain saws, chipper knives, and other cutting equipment, thus raising costs of logging and of manufacturing.
Also, Washington being one of the three Pacific Northwest states plays a role in trade. Washington particularly is important for products like wheat, flour, lumber, and wood products. The main loss was the ash damage to crops like fruit trees, wheat, and barley. The trade for lumber and wood products also decreased from the loss of trees. Trade was also affected from transportation. Without transportation they couldn’t send the exports.
Transportation was damaged by ash fall, mudslides, floods, and the blast. As a result that damaged 63 miles of roads, about 25 bridges, and blocked the Columbia River. The highest of all the bridges in the National Forest Service Land damaged was a high steel- girder. Also, nine bridges by the Toutle River. The combination of damage to roads and bridges was about $112 million dollars. A result of Mt. St. Helens blow was mudslides in...
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