Thompson. Copyright: The Albuquerque Journal.
Reprinted With Permission.
Betty Adams Roach '43
fires burned through thousands of acres of Western forests last
summer. Two of the outbreaks hit the
bosques (riverside woodlands) along the Rio Grande River in New
Mexico only a short distance from the Albuquerque home of Nancy
Oplinger Dover ’51. The retired medical technician joined
hundreds of volunteers who, barred from still-smoldering sites,
labored with work crews in the ongoing clearance of nearby previously
burned riverside acreage.
Nancy’s role in the bosque, however, extends far beyond her
brief sweaty stint at the fire scene. Sturdy and lively for her
74 years, she is a recognized local and regional authority on where
and how to explore the groves of stately 50- to 100-foot cottonwoods
that stretch for miles along the Rio Grande near Albuquerque. She
served for many years as a volunteer walking-tour guide for the
Rio Grande Nature Center State Park; she still explores many of
the more than 40 nature walks she mapped to favorite sites along
nearby sections of the 1,200-mile ditch/canal network making up
New Mexico’s flood control and irrigation system. But the
June fires burned over hundreds of acres, obliterating many of
Nancy’s woodland trails; they forced her to cancel all
her scheduled group hikes into the bosque and reroute others
trails out of the stricken area. It has been a tearful experience.
Walking is a way of life for Nancy. She grew up in Hellertown,
and developed a love of the outdoors on innumerable nature walks
and berry-picking excursions with her father along the banks of
Saucon Creek. Since 1984, she and a group of Albuquerque friends
have met for Saturday morning walks in the Rio Grande Nature Center