Lee Anne Martinez 1979 & 1980

Crater Lake National Park Centennial Oral Histories

 Lee Anne Martinez 1979 & 1980

I am a former seasonal back country ranger who worked at Crater Lake in the summers of 1979 and 1980. It played a formative part in my life. Here is a top ten list of memories:

10. The mysterious robbery of the north entrance station. -or- Directing traffic (which I had never done before, and had no idea what I was doing) at the 4th of July bicentennial celebration.

9. Slawny Slawnikowski running the Rim Run marathon without the benefit of any training beforehand! He kept opting not to get in the beer truck, and made the entire run, in pretty good time, too!

8. Being out on foot patrol, and trying to help locate a helicopter that was forced to make an emergency (“auto-rotating”) landing in the park.

7. Myself and Ron Mastrogiuseppi chasing after a badger in one of our prescribed burn areas, causing it to stop and face off with us — it gave us a great close-up view of this wonderful creature. I saw more wildlife in our prescribed burn areas than anyplace else in the park.

6. Having the FBI corner a wanted suspect in the park near the permanent ranger residence area. The FBI agents were in the park at the time to give the patrol rangers (like Nancy Rohn – the park’s first female patrol ranger) and back country rangers firearm training.

5. SCUBA diving in Crater Lake. Not a lot to see, but boy was that drop-off steep.

4. Watching the Perseid meteor shower (an over-nighter on the Rim) with fellow employees. Also, hikes to nearby mountain peaks, and Krusteaz pancake breakfasts with Tom Termura and other maintenance crew members in the neighboring cabin.

3. Being only the second female ever hired as a back country ranger in the park. (A bold move on the part of Dave Lange). I was also the youngest member of the crew. The good news is that I was able to pass the smoke jumpers test, including the push-ups and pull-ups — which helped to legitimize his selection.

2. Being part of a crew that flew (on commercial airlines) in our NOMEX (helmets in hand) to go fight a wildfire in Yellowstone National Park. The two women on the crew (myself and Debbie Kruse) were asked by a man in the airport if we were “going along to cook for the boys.”

1. Coming across a wildfire on the west side of the park (it had escaped from an illegal campfire ring) while on horseback patrol. Other members of the back country crew had to drive to the western border of the park, where I met them on horseback. We swapped the riding saddle for a pack saddle, and had the horse carry a small pump in to fight the fire with water from an adjacent stream. I ended up having to ride good old Socks the horse bareback back to the main road and, for the last part of the journey, in what seemed like pitch darkness. Luckily, Socks was so barn-sour that he made his way in the dark with little encouragement from me. The ride took almost four hours, though (from about 8 PM until almost midnight).

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