Program Policies

Program policies are subject to change without notice. 
 

COVID-19 PANDEMIC SPECIFIC POLICIES & PRECAUTIONS

  • VULNERABLE POPULATIONS: Registrants considered at higher risk to COVID-19 should make their own decisions regarding whether or not to participate. In Washington State, high-risk populations are encouraged to stay home. See CDC guidelines on vulnerable populations.
  • TRAVEL: We expect you to follow Federal, State, Public Lands, and Health Authority regulations and guidance on travel. Please reconsider travel if you are coming from an area with a large outbreak. Also, consider staying local - Mount St. Helens will be here in the future. See our Reassurance Cancellation Policy if you are concerned.  
  • CLOSURES & GROUP SIZE: All MSHI programs will be up-to-date on the local, state, and federal regulations and communicate this to the group in advance of the trip.
  • COME PREPARED: Please bring your own supplies including hand sanitizer, face covering, food, water, etc. 
    • Please bring your own hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, and a small bag for trash.
    • Please bring items for your experience as documented in program communications after registration.
    • Participants must bring their own writing implement to fill out required risk and medical forms (forms provided at the trailhead). 
  • FACE COVERINGS: A face covering (such as a cloth mask) must be worn any time the group is not hiking, when we pass others on the trail in either direction or when we cannot maintain social distancing. Read more about cloth face coverings here.
  • SOCIAL DISTANCING: Minimum of 6 feet’ is required between household members, including from other hikers on the trail.
  • KNOW THE SYMPTOMS: Registrants are required to cancel if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, or new loss of taste or smell. We will do our best to reschedule with no penalty once you are feeling better. Review the symptoms
  • MEDICAL INFORMATION & HEALTH SCREENING: The more we know about your health/medical conditions, the better we can manage the risks for everyone. Please complete the Participant Information Form 14 days before your trip. On the day of your trip, we will conduct a COVID-19 symptom screening survey. Any persons with COVID-19 symptoms must cancel. 
  • FIRST AID: MSHI staff will provide first aid up to their level of training, and will be following recommendations of the certifying organization (eg: NOLS) regarding COVID-19. 
  • FLEXIBILITY: If there are large crowds at trailheads or on the trail, our staff will work with your group to alter plans/schedule to avoid large gatherings of people. 
  • POST-TRIP: If you become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 and/or test positive for COVID-19 within 2 weeks of participating, we encourage you to let us know for purposes of contact tracing. While optional, this is encouraged to help us slow the spread. We will try to do the same. 
  • ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS
    • MSHI staff and volunteers are assessed for COVID-19 symptoms each program day. 
    • All frequently touched surfaces are regularly disinfected.
    • Mask, physical distancing and handwashing are required during programs. 
    • We are not currently offering transportation to or during program activities. 
    • All programs will occur outdoors. Indoor programs remain closed until further notice.

 

CANCELLATION POLICIES

COVID-19 Reassurance Cancellation Policy (valid through 2021)

FOR IN-PERSON PROGRAMS & VOLCANO NATURALIST: Registrant cancellations due to illness and/or pandemic related restrictions will be fully refundable, less 3% credit card processing fee. For outdoor guided programs contact climb@mshinsitute.org. For youth and family programs contact learn@mshinstitute.org

FOR ON-LINE YOUTH PROGRAMS: No refunds will be provided for a cancellation or no-show of on-line/virtual programs. Date exchanges require at least 24 hours advance notice by email (learn@mshinstitute.org).

The Mount St. Helens Institute reserves the right, at its discretion, to change, modify, add, or remove portions of the Reassurance Cancellation Policy at any time without notice. 

Standard Cancellation Policy

  • MSHI reserves the right to cancel, postpone or change the venue, date and time of a program should unforeseen circumstances occur."
  • Due to changing weather and terrain conditions and the pace/skill of a group’s program participants, MSHI cannot and does not guarantee programs will be completed as advertised.
  • In the event that the Mount St. Helens Institute must cancel a scheduled program, registrants will receive a full refund less a 3% credit card processing fee.
  • In the event that the registrant cancels their registration, the registrant will be held to MSHI's program specific cancellation policy below:
    • Guided Exploration Programs, Volcano Naturalist, Summer Camps, & Family Programs: Registrants will receive a full refund minus a 3% credit card processing fees when MSHI is notified of cancellation 30 or more days prior to the start of the program.  Should you prefer, registrants may receive a program credit for the full tuition plus credit card processing fees. Refunds are not issued for cancellations received fewer than 30 days prior to the start of the program.
    • Summer Camps: Registrants will receive a full refund minus 3% credit card processing fees when MSHI is notified of cancellation 30 or more days prior to the start of the program.  Should you prefer, registrants may receive a program credit for the full tuition plus registration processing fees. Refunds are not issued for cancellations received fewer than 30 days prior to the start of the program.
    • Volcano Outdoor School & Facility Rentals: The school or group is registered upon receipt of the signed Program Agreement. A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the program quote is due 60 days before the program start date. Should MSHI not receive a booking deposit, MSHI may cancel the Program with written notice.
    • Online/Virtual Programs: No refunds will be provided for a cancellation or no-show. Date exchanges require at least 24 hours advance notice by email (learn@mshinstitute.org).
  • Refunds are not issued to participants dismissed from an MSHI program.  
  • MSHI shall not be liable for any direct, or indirect, consequential or special costs (damages) that may be incurred due to a program cancellation or dismissal, including, but not limited to, airfare, hotel expenses, cancellation penalties and any other private expenses."
  • None of the following will result in a refund of any program fees: homesickness, change of family/school plans, dismissal from the program and/or personal schedule conflicts/changes.

 

PARTICIPATION POLICIES

  • Programs proceed in rain and unpleasant weather unless it compromises the safety of the group.  Appropriate gear, clothing and footwear are very important for ensuring comfort.
  • All program participants are responsible for their own accident and health insurance.
  • All participants must complete and return a Participant Agreement & Assumption of Risk and Participant Information Form before the beginning of the program.
  • Participants must abide by the rules and instructions given either verbally or in writing by the Mount St. Helens Institute or its designated instructor(s). Violation of any participation policies are grounds for dismissal.
    • Unlawful conduct is prohibited. Participants must abide by the rules and regulations of the US Forest Service.
    • Alcohol is not allowed during programs unless otherwise approved by MSHI.
    • Any and all illegal or recreational drugs including, but not limited to, cannabis are not allowed on federal land or during an MSHI program at any time, for any reason.
    • Smoking and vaping are not permitted during programs.
    • Weapons including, but not limited to, handguns, rifles, shotguns or other firearms; knives, butterfly knives, switchblade knives, daggers; martial arts weapons or implements; explosives; and stun guns or Taser devices, are prohibited. Possession or use of any weapon is grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
    • Inappropriate conversation or personal conduct; bullying, assault or inappropriate physical conduct; offensive behavior or remarks toward other participants or Mount St. Helens Institute staff and volunteers, including use of racial, religious or sexual slurs and/or intimidation are strictly prohibited.
    • Theft or vandalism is prohibited.
    • The majority of our programs operate within a No Drone Zone.
  • Pets are prohibited on Mount St. Helens Institute programs. Service animals are permitted, in designated areas and/or as otherwise permitted by controlling law.
  • Participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the program site, unless otherwise determined by MSHI.
  • MSHI shall not be liable for any direct, or indirect, consequential or special costs (damages) that may be incurred due to a program cancellation or dismissal, including, but not limited to, airfare, hotel expenses, cancellation penalties and any other private expenses."
  • The Mount St. Helens Institute or U.S. Forest Service and their staff and volunteers are not responsible for the storage, care, custody, or control of equipment, materials or furnishings owned by participants.

Last updated: November 16, 2020