Martinez has channeled her outdoor passion into a successful conservation career. After a stint at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy as trail program manager overseeing volunteer trail crews, she moved west to the Continental Divide Trail Coalition and now serves on the boards of the Partnership for the National Trails System and Next100 Coalition, two groups driving an inclusive approach to improve access to public lands for hikers and backpackers.
“When I first came west, I’d regularly see snow on New Mexico’s Bootheel peaks, but today it’s rare, and the monsoons aren’t showing up,” she says. “Water and climate change are intimately intertwined and directly effect access.”
Martinez leads strategy development to blend outdoor recreation with climate change challenges. “CDTC is digging into resiliency work for the trail, like mobilizing volunteers after fire events to clear the trail of debris. And we’re working on how to finish the CDT, close the gaps, and ensure we have enough protection to create a fully connected, 3,100-mile corridor that also protects wildlife, watersheds, and air quality.” Trail That Inspires CDT near the Chama River, NM
“My family originated hundreds of years ago in northern Mexico and my DNA instinctively knows this is home. It’s like a magnetic connection to ground my ancestors touched and it’s just poetic,” Martinez says. For a quick taste, start at Skull Bridge near Abiquiu Reservoir and hike 2.5 miles north through orange-tinted sandstone cliffs. continentaldividetrail.org