Martha Dickes prefers to be called Marty. She says she is an old UC Berkeley hippie who wears Birkenstocks, loves to explore, loves the desert, and loves what she does.
Marty received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of California-Berkeley in 1976. She began working as a freelance transcriber for a film production company in San Francisco while studying for a graduate degree in film. Eventually, she became a production assistant and an associate producer working on a National Geographic special on the Desert Protection Act, called "A Desert Divided." It was during the production of the film she first came to the Eastern Sierra and the Mojave Desert.
On a dare she applied with the Forest Service as a seasonal OHV ranger in the Inyo National Forest. Marty then became one of two coordinators for the Inyo/White landscape team, determining legal boundaries for the new Inyo Mountains Wilderness.
In 1996, she was the resident ranger for Monache Meadows limited use area, which attracts lots of four-wheelers.
"I come to the wilderness program with a strong OHV background, " she says.
Marty became one of the first of the wilderness rangers brought on by the California Desert District after passage of the California Desert Protection Act in 1997. She performed field checks for legal descriptions of wilderness boundaries, much like she had done for the Forest Service. After two seasons, she resumed her schooling at the University of California-Riverside and became a SCEP employee for the BLM. In 2001, Marty received her second Bachelor's degree, this time in anthropology. Marty is now the outdoor recreation planner and wilderness coordinator for the Ridgecrest Field Office.
Marty was born in Michigan, but moved with her family to the Los Angeles area at age three. It was then she became an explorer. She says her family went of great road trips during the summer. "I visited about every National Park in the West," she says.
She still explores. She is an avid backpacker and hiker and frequently takes off hiking to experience the thrill of going where few people have gone. Her adventures have not been without drama. She broke her ankle while on one of her trips, becoming stranded on Keynot Peak for three days before eventually being airlifted off.
Marty lives in Trona.