Meet Your Neighbor: hiker, business owner Lori Martinek

Lori Martinek

Name: Lori Martinek

Where I live: In Trilogy at Verde River, the Scottsdale area’s newest (and only) active adult resort community. I am a ‘pioneer’ there.

When & why I moved here: I moved in last fall after living in Scottsdale for two years and Carefree for 10 years. I am minutes from my favorite hiking trails in the north region of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (Granite Mountain, Tom’s Thumb, Brown’s Ranch), and still within reach of all of the places where I like to eat, shop and hang out.

What I like most about living here: The never-ending views and the vibrant colors of both sunrise and sunset. And, of course, the weather (even when it’s hot!). The far northeast Valley has everything that you could want: amazing outdoor activities, world-class dining, shopping and services, friendly people who have moved here from all over the country (and the world). Plus: there is a Western, true Sonoran Desert vibe that follows you, wherever you go!

Activities I enjoy: Hiking (long distance and elevation), mountain biking, playing pickle ball and being a hike leader for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, two Scottsdale area Meetup groups and our new Trilogy hiking club. I also love movies, a great happy hour and fun day trips.

Clubs/organizations I’m involved in: I am a hike leader for the Trail Mix and Phoenix Beginner Hikers hiking groups (Meetup); McDowell Sonoran Conservancy (Steward, hike leader, foot patrol); Trilogy hiking club (hike leader), women’s club and pickle ball club.

My favorite charity or volunteer activity and why it deserves support from others? I am a Steward and a hike leader for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, which is the non-profit organization which works with the city of Scottsdale to champion and protect the 31,500-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

More than 600 volunteer stewards lend nearly 60,000 hours each year to build and patrol trails, lead foot and bike hikes, assist visitors to Preserve trailheads, teach workshops, and document and study the Preserve’s diverse flora and fauna as citizen scientists and environmentalists.

It is an amazing organization which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year and manages to do all of the above without any funding from the city of Scottsdale. Anyone who lives near the Preserve – whether it’s in their backyards or they drive to a nearby trailhead – should consider lending their time, talents or money to help protect this amazing outdoor asset.

My No. 1 suggestion to new residents looking for ways to get involved in their community: Become a steward! It’s easy and you will meet lots of smart, funny, happy and active people who love to spend time outdoors!

What one thing would you like to see changed in Scottsdale? I’d love to see even more land added to the Preserve, and to other nearby preserves in Phoenix, Cave Creek and throughout Maricopa County to keep our vistas intact for future generations. Scottsdale is an amazing place to live. There is very little that I would change about it.

My family: I live with my 11-year-old Yellow Lab, Reggie.

What I do: I own a marketing consulting firm that specializes in economic development and constituent and stakeholder outreach. My company will be 30 years old in September. I moved to Arizona from Illinois in 2005.

People who are an inspiration to me: Jane Rau, who helped to get the Conservancy started more than 25 years ago by being a relentless thorn in the side of the (then) Scottsdale City Council. She never gave up, and – at 95 — she still hikes the Preserve trails almost every day.

My advice to today’s youth: Spend as much time as you can outdoors, learn to appreciate nature and then fight to protect and preserve it!

To volunteer in the city of Scottsdale visit www.ScottsdaleAZ.gov/volunteer.

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