The Port of Skagit
As we look toward the holiday season and showcasing all of the wonderful products that come from the #MagicSkagit, we take a moment to reflect and recognize our friends and neighbors at The Port of Skagit. The Port has contributed immensely to the economic vitality of Skagit County through the development of facilities and infrastructure that support local commerce, trade and tourism. The Port owns and operates five key facilities: the Skagit Regional Airport, the Bayview Business Park, the La Conner Marina, the Watershed Business Park and the SWIFT Center in Sedro-Woolley.
The Port of Skagit was originally created in 1964 by a vote of the people, who recognized the need for an entity that would serve the economic needs of Skagit County by helping to create jobs in the natural resource fields of agriculture, wood products, fisheries and mineral extraction. The Port’s focus has broadened over the years, and today the Port’s essential purpose is to contribute to the economic vitality of Skagit County through the development of facilities and infrastructure that support local commerce, trade and tourism.
In 2013, the Washington State Department of Commerce designated the Skagit Valley as an Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ) to focus efforts to enhance and increase the value of local agriculture. Through this initiative, the Port of Skagit and its partners sought out ways to create new jobs and a robust economy centered on our valley’s rich agricultural resources and heritage. One of the successful outcomes of the IPZ’s work, was the Genuine Skagit Valley program. You can read more about this initiative here.
“To say the Port of Skagit is proud of the Genuine Skagit Valley program is an immense understatement. In a short amount of time, GSV has made a name for itself and brought widespread attention and appreciation to our unique agricultural valley and the dedicated growers and producers who make it special. We are honored to be a part of the GSV work.” said Linda Tyler, Communications Director for the Port of Skagit.
“As a Founding IPZ Member and supporter of GSV, we now have a Federally Registered Certification Mark to celebrate Skagit Valley value-added agriculture all thanks to the Port of Skagit’s integral support “ said Blake Vanfield, Director for the Genuine Skagit Valley program.
In 2023, the Port began a new community firewood program. The program was borne out of opportunity and available resources. The Port of Skagit owns more than 2,000 acres throughout the county, a large portion of which is forested land, creating an ample opportunity to collect fallen trees that can be repurposed into firewood for those in need. The Port’s maintenance team began making a concentrated effort this year to save any firewood grade limbs or trees that come down across Port properties, then bringing them to the SWIFT Center log yard for processing into firewood. The goal of the program is to take wood that would normally be an expense to haul off, or left in the forested lands to rot, and convert it into something useful for the community. More information about the firewood program can be found on the Port’s website.
Agriculture has been a part of the Port’s work for nearly 60 years, and today nearly 20 agriculture and value-added agriculture businesses and organizations are located at the Port. They are home to research, wheat-breeding, flour milling, beer and wine making, live grain storage, bakeries, seed and bulb companies, pickle processing, meat processing at an 80-member farm cooperative, the active farming of crops and stewardship of working agricultural lands, and so much more. This past fall, the Port presented the inaugural Tide Water Boil and the annual Skagit Farm to Pint FEST at the La Conner Marina which celebrated local craft beer, growers, and producers and supported the Genuine Skagit Valley program.
We recently reached out to Linda Tyler, Communications Director for the Port of Skagit, to ask what the Port team’s favorite Skagit grown crop is. Here’s what she said:
“It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite crop, because there are several crops that have significant meaning to the Port through our work with value-added ag tenants. But if we had to pick one to highlight, it would be grains, because of the role the Port has played over the past decade to create and enhance value-added opportunities for grains in our local ag industry.”
Today the Port of Skagit continues to have a strong focus on value-added agriculture and has invested significant resources in infrastructure and business recruitment to support the local agricultural industry and economy. We’re so grateful for the Port’s support of the Genuine Skagit Valley program from day one and are so excited to continue the collaboration in the years to come. Thank you for continuing to support the Genuine Skagit Valley program, Port of Skagit!