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Railroad says: 'Take our volcano -- please'

The federal government was offered a hot property -- the one-square-mile summit of the smoldering Mt. St. Helens volcano.

On the second anniversary of an eruption that killed 60 people, the summit's owners, the Burlington Northern Railroad Company, said it wanted to make the peak a gift to the nation.

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In a letter to President Reagan, company president Richard Bressler said: ''It is our hope that this donation will encourage the careful management of the St. Helens area for the contemplation and enjoyment of future generations.''

Burlington Northern said the mountaintop was part of a federal land grant made in 1864 to the Northern Pacific Railroad to help it raise capital for a transcontinental railway. The land became Burlington's in a merger 10 years ago.

There was no immediate response from Washington.

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