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Volunteer Spotlight - Rick Machin

By: Hannah Swartos, Stewardship Intern

Some Skagit Valley residents have a history in the area that stretches back many generations. Others found their own way here, drawn by economic opportunity, local culture, or the many natural offerings of the area. Rick Machin and his wife, Meredith, received a bit of lucky prompting from a friend. After retiring from the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service in 1997, Rick and Meredith sought a place to set down roots, having lived in many different parts of the world. A colleague who had been stationed at NAS Whidbey Island pushed them towards the Pacific Northwest, and the pair soon settled into a new life on Fidalgo Island.

Rick’s work with local conservation organizations began with the San Juan Preservation Trust in 1999. Soon after, he became an active supporter of the Skagit Land Trust. After serving on San Juan Preservation Trust’s Board of Trustees for eight years, Rick joined Skagit Land Trust’s Stewardship Committee, which he has served on for ten years.

Rick has been an invaluable voice in the Trust’s stewardship committee meetings, as well as an exceptional field volunteer. He has donated countless hours of time to trail-building, invasive species removal, and planting parties over the years. It is this type of work that he loves best, he says, and finds volunteering outside with other enthusiastic staff and community members extremely rewarding.

The Skagit Valley is a “special place,” Rick remarks, “Being a part of the Trust makes me feel more connected to the essence of the area: its rich natural beauty and people who appreciate its importance, and who work to ensure and improve its sustainability.”

Rick has also played a substantial role in the development and maintenance of the county-owned Sharpe Park and Montgomery-Duban Headlands on Fidalgo Island. From trail-building, to capital campaign assistance, and invasive plant removal, Rick’s extensive work with one of the island’s most beloved hiking spots has nurtured his own fondness for the park.

“It’s my go-to place for exercise, solitude, and connecting with the big, wide world of Mother Nature,” he says of Sharpe Park, “All just a couple of miles from my house!”

Rick’s impact on Sharpe Park and Headlands can be plainly seen. Just take a quick trail detour from the popular Sare’s Head viewpoint and you will find yourself standing at Machin Overlook, taking in some of the best views the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

When Rick and Meredith arrived in Skagit County, they were touched by the unique spirit of the area’s residents and culture. After many years volunteering in service of local lands, Rick has become an integral part of that warm regional character and gone above and beyond as a steward and supporter of the natural world that stands as its foundation.

Third from the right, Rick Machin joins SLT staff and volunteers in the stewardship of Land Trust Property, Tope Ryan.

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