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Mount St. Helens climbing permits go on sale at 7 a.m. March 18 at recreation.gov.

Permits are required for all climbers year-round, but the number of climbers is limited between April 1 through Oct. 31 to protect the volcano’s natural resources, according to a press release form the United States Department of Agriculture. Permits will be available on a first-come, first-served basis during those months and must be bought in advance online.

The cost is $15 per person plus an additional $6 fee per permit reservation. Climbing groups are limited to 12 people per permit.

According to the press release, a few changes to the permitting process have been made this year. When buying a permit, the person purchasing it will need to enter the names of all the climbers in the group. Each climber must carry his or her identification that matches the names of the climbers on the permit.

Climbers also have flexibility. Permit holders can change the members of the climbing group, cancel or refund climbing permits up to 14 days before their climb. Climbers also will be able to show a digitally downloaded version of their permit instead of a paper copy.

The Mount St. Helens Institute, the forest partner, will continue to provide climbing information and climbing route conditions at www.mshinstitute.org.

Before March 18, climbers should create an account at recreation.gov to help expedite their permit purchases when the permits go on sale.

For details about the climbing permits, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/climbingmsh.

One, about 10 percent of all permits for the period from May 16 through Oct. 31 will not be released until the last day of the preceding month. For example, 10 percent of all June permits would only be released after 12:01 a.m. on May 31.

Two, to promote safety, climbers will be prompted through their confirmation email to register the names of all climbers in their party. This information will help climbing rangers to better respond to emergencies and will help discourage unauthorized climbing permit resales.

National Forest Day Passes (parking permits) are necessary to park at the Climber’s Bivouac and are not provided with climbing permits at time of purchase. Funds from pass sales are used to maintain the toilets, parking and campsites at Climber’s Bivouac, provide climber customer service, and fund volunteer and youth education programs at Mount St. Helens.

Climbers will need to display a National Forest Day Pass ($5/day), National Forest Annual Pass or America the Beautiful Pass on each car parked at Climber’s Bivouac.

Day Passes are available for purchase at a self-service pay station at Climber’s Bivouac, at monument facilities, or online through Discover Your Northwest (http://www.discovernw.org/passes).

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