New Snoqualmie Point Park map orients visitors with surroundings

Creators of the Snoqualmie Point Park orientation table, designer Rick McGuire and artist Denita Benyshek admire the view of the Cascades.  - Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record
Creators of the Snoqualmie Point Park orientation table, designer Rick McGuire and artist Denita Benyshek admire the view of the Cascades.
— image credit: Denise Miller / Snoqualmie Valley Record

A new orientation table on display at Snoqualmie Point Park provides a beautiful short course on local geography.

The colorful table identifies the peaks and valleys of the Cascades as seen from the park, located at 37580 Winery Road on the site of an old winery near the intersection of Interstate 90 and North Bend Way.

Visiting the park last summer, sign designer Rick McGuire saw a need for some sort of signage to explain the expansive view. Your typical sign wouldn’t do, though.

“You can only depict 60 or 70 degrees with a sign. When you have a view that takes in so much of the horizon like here, you need to do it differently,” he said.

Then he remembered the elegant orientation tables he’d seen at viewpoints in Europe. He describes France’s “tables d’orientation,” as large compasses with the mountains drawn in an arc. As an observer stands and looks across the table, whatever mountain he looks at is directly behind and in line with its depiction on the table.

McGuire, who said he’s “always been obsessed by mountain geography,” got to work studying the Snoqualmie Valley landscape and designing the table.

To achieve mathematical accuracy, he took various series of panoramic photos of the view, and, along with North Bend artist Denita Benyshek, painstakingly graphed out each section.

McGuire, who lives in Seattle, donated his time and got the Alpine Lakes Protection Society (ALPS) to fund the rest of the project.

“We hope that by explaining to people what they’re looking at, we’ll help build support to protect more places here,” McGuire said.

Benyshek expects the table will inspire visitors to the new park to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the area she’s been happy to call home for a decade.

“I hope it will help people pause and enjoy the view. Instead of taking 15 seconds and walking away, they’ll stop and start to notice more detail,” she said.

Surprised by how many prominent peaks were nameless, McGuire included a few of his own ideas on the table, calling Peak 5434 “Mount Manning” after the late prominent conservationist Harvey Manning.

“Since we were doing the table here, I figured we had the liberty to suggest a few names,” McGuire laughed.

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