Off The Press

January 21, 2014

By Greg Farrar

People, local land are missing Margaret Macleod

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”

-Rachel Carson


Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Margaret Macleod would not care if you read any farther than that quotation, as long as you take it to heart and burn it into your mind. That’s my hunch, anyway.

A few of her friends have shared their thoughts with me.

Issaquah’s park planner, and an employee of the Parks & Recreation Department for more than 20 years, Margaret died of cancer last month. She has guaranteed the preservation of acre upon acre of local land for city parks, hiking trails and wild preserves.

“She was so incredibly smiley and positive and cheerful, and a little disheveled” from being always outdoors, said Cathy Jones, Parks & Recreation Youth Recreation Coordinator. “That’s Margaret.

“She brought her golden retriever to work and it would be in the back with her,” always ready for their next trip outdoors together on the job.

Despite being scared of the disease, “she was still positive for herself. She was so happy and so full of life. It is so un-Margaret of her not to be here,” Jones said.

“Margaret calls me at work” (in 2012), city Open Space Steward Matt Mechler said, “and leaves a frantic message that there’s a baby blue heron in the middle of the parking lot at City Hall.”

Mechler went to the scene.

“It couldn’t fly but it could run, and was running underneath cars from one car to another. Margaret had already commandeered a police officer. Between the three of us, it was a challenge, it took 20 minutes to catch. She saw this baby wild animal that needed help. That kind of sums it up,” Mechler said.

“You can’t hardly stand in Issaquah and not see a park, field or protected open space that she wasn’t instrumental in getting a grant to acquire,” former City Council member David Kappler said. “Getting other organizations to work together was key. They all have different rules and regs, and she’d get them working as a team for the bigger picture.”

“She had a Scotch father but an Irish mother,” Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said, “and my grandmother was a Jordan, so we always said we were somehow distantly related. So, when you’re Irish stock you have a great love of the land, and that was the essence of Margaret.

“She was really happy that we got Park Pointe, and we walked up there all the time. She loved walking with her dog Ginger, and before that Sage,” McGill added. “She loved to bake and she made great scones that she’d bring to staff meetings. And she had a genuine smile that radiated through her whole face.

“I keep thinking she’s going to drive up and walk in the door.”

As for me, all I can add is this: As soon as the weather allows (now if you are Margaret Macleod), get outside. Hike one of our hundreds of trails. Enjoy the wilds with a smile. They are yours because of her.


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