If you ever looked for an easily accessible picnic spot in the Sandia Mountains, or if you just needed a place to shelter during a storm, there's a good chance that you stopped at the Doc Long Picnic Area. But who was Doc Long?
Recently, the Forest Service added an interpretive sign that explains who Doc Long was, and why their picnic area is named after him. Sad to say, some idiot defaced Doc's picture—but that's him to the left. Here's the full narrative on the sign:
Pioneer Forest Pathologist "Doc" Long
Dr. William H. Long was one of the nation's pioneer botanical researchers. In the early 1900s, officials in Washington D.C. authorized "Doc" Long to conduct investigations "relating to diseases of timber and fruit, forest, shade and ornamental trees" in the Southwest. He came to 1913 as a forest pathologist, and set up his field headquarters at this location. According to local folklore he built a cabin to conduct research on site, but no trace of Doc's cabin remains.
"Doc" Long was committed to his studies. His findings shed light on serious problems that can occur in semi-arid climates, especially diseases like dwarf mistletoe and tree rot afflicting ponderosa pine forests. He helped us understand how forest diseases affect the life cycles of trees. For a time "Doc" Long roamed the territory with another forest pathologist, Dr. George G. Hedgcock. Eventually, they co-authored several papers relating to tree disease, leaving behind a legacy of information for scientists following in their footsteps.