What’s Newt at Friends of Moran?

Interpretive Center to be built at the summit of Mt. Constitution

The State Parks and Recreation Commission has approved funding for the Mt. Constitution Interpretive Center.  State Parks will be conducting a workshop to gather public input into the building design and interpretive exhibit content Tuesday, August 7th from 5pm to 8:30pm at the Orcas Island Public School cafeteria.  With the summit of Mt. Constitution being the number one destination for visitors to Orcas Island and the park in general being such an important economic driver for islanders, we encourage participation from all who consider Moran State Park to be one of the gems of Orcas Island. 

HKP Architects of Mt. Vernon has been chosen to design the building.  No stranger to Orcas Island, this is the same firm that designed the Orcas Island Public Library.  Design and permitting is slated for this winter with construction to begin Spring of 2019.

In addition, two Seattle design firms – CRĒO Exhibits, a full-service custom fabricator working in conjunction with graphic design firm Edquist Davis Exhibits (EDX) have been hired to supply the interpretive interior exhibits.  Both firms have extensive experience supplying compelling exhibits in such venues as:  Washington State History Museum; Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Memorial Plaza; Fort Casey State Park and over 40 National Parks.  Their thematic work will be built upon the Content/Concept Development Phase results done by Aldrich Pears in 2017 based on a workshop with 12 Orcas Island community members, six WA State Parks staff and five project consultants on June 16, 2016.

The goals for the Mt. Constitution Interpretive Center include:

  1. Building meaningful connections that help visitors understand the broader story of Mount Constitution, from geological formation, to ecological communities, to historical and contemporary human use. 
  2. Providing indoor interpretive elements that inspire visitors to explore the natural world outside of the interpretive center. 
  3. Serving as a key orientation facility for Moran State Park and the San Juan Islands. 
  4. Creating experiences for diverse audiences, age groups and learning styles including those specifically designed to engage children and youth. 
  5. Offering experiences that complement and enhance interpretation at other sites in the park. 
  6. Encouraging respect for the historical and natural elements at the site. 
  7. Providing like experiences for visitors who may not be able to access the Observation Tower or other viewpoints. 
  8. Creating opportunities for sustainable revenue generation.

Unfortunately, these hefty goals do not come with a hefty budget.  The public is encouraged to participate in this workshop to address this and other issues of importance related to this exciting development for Moran State Park and Orcas Island.  Refreshments will be provided by Friends of Moran State Park.

Submitted by Jackie Daigle

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