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Latest COVID-19 Information 

Please continue to monitor the news, this website, The office of Neighborhood  and and

October 19, 2021
By Michele Lesher

Successful Adopt-a-Highway Event

Dear High Desert Residents:

If you drove on Tramway between Academy and Spain last month, you might have noticed that it seemed like a "trash bomb" went off in the median. Fast forward to today. It is neat as a pin thanks to the 13 volunteers who turned out for our most recent Adopt-a-Highway Event on Saturday, October 16, to clean up Miles 9 and 10 of Tramway Blvd. 

We started at the Albertson's, with half of the volunteers working south from Academy to the bridge at Bear Canyon. The other half worked north to the bridge at Simms Park Road. We accumulated 30 full bags of trash and a large amount of lumber, cardboard, carpet and construction materials. My mom used to say, "Many hands make light work," and she had that right. It was amazing how much we got accomplished in just two hours!

Please join me in thanking the following stalwart volunteers for their efforts:

Barbara and Dan Balik (Highlands)
Howard Friedman (West Highlands)
Dan Kropp, Laura Krimksy (Canyons)
Jim DeBlois (Tierra del Oso)
Meghan List (Chamisa Trail)
Susan Camp (Desert Highlands)
Janet Brierley, Geoff Schuster (Sunset Ridge)
Julie and Steve Hartig, Shirley Scott (Overlook)

Tramway Cleanup Oct 2021

To keep our adoption active, we are committed to holding a formal event twice per year. I am thinking our next cleanup will be sometime in April 2022. If you are interested in volunteering, please send me an email and I will add you to my list!

Michele Lesher

Reminders and Notices

July 29, 2021

Attend Albuquerque City Council Meetings Remotely

Albuquerque residents can attend government meetings remotely, including Albuquerque City Council meetings, on GOV-TV by clicking on this link:

GOV TV is the local government television channel for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County. GOV TV provides real-time streaming video of local government programming 24 hours a day. Programming includes live coverage of government meetings, recorded news conferences, and a wide variety of locally produced TV shows about public services, facilities, employees, officials, and events.

July 29, 2021

Party in the Park Postponed

The annual High Desert Party in the Park event has been postponed until next summer. Brenda Gossage, homeowner and coordinator of the event, decided to postpone given the amount of pre-planning involved and the current coronavirus crisis and possibilities of extended closures. She consulted with Board President Clay Wright before making the decision in late April. 

July 29, 2021

Albuquerque Reopening Plan

Continue to monitor the news on these websites:
The office of Neighborhood Coordination

July 26, 2021

Town Hall Meeting in September!

On Friday, September 17, at 3:00 p.m., the High Desert Residential Owners Association Board Members will be hosting a Town Hall meeting that is open to all High Desert residents. The Town Hall will be held via Zoom. We will post more information about the meeting and the Zoom link to register as the time gets closer. If you have any questions please email

We encourage you to attend!

April 07, 2021

Thank You, Homepage Photographers!

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the following people for contributing fabulous photographs to our homepage slideshow. They give it life and show us all how beautiful High Desert is. We'll change these pictures as time goes on and new seasons emerge.

Thanks to:
John Ledwith
Kathryn Lombard-Thomas
Judy Pierson
Raychel Sanner photo by Michael Paul


News & Articles

October 05, 2021

Global Announcement

Learn more here and complete
a Statement of Interest here

September 29, 2021

Plant Resources

When adding to your landscaping, plant selection matters. A key question to ask is: Which plants will grow well in our high desert environment? By exploring expert recommendations for our area, you can learn how to select the best plants and care for them. There are several resources to turn to for plant lists, maintence suggestions, watering tips, and other useful information to help you find the plants that will best thrive in our climate.

A go-to resource is the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority (ABCWUA). Their customer newsletters and 505Outside website have tons of helpful information, including this guide: Xeriscaping: The Complete How-To Guide

The Nature Conservancy produced a list of tree species that will do best in our climate, including species that are the most cold and heat tolerant. This list is arranged by planting locations to help you decide where to place trees around your home: Albuquerque Climate-Ready Trees List

Bernalillo County has created a list of plants that can survive on harvested rainwater. No irrigantion required! Bernalillo County Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plant List 

Finally, the Friends of Valle de Oro generated a Backyard Refuge Plant List that is specifically for building wildlife gardens, with mostly native plants, to thrive in the Albuquerque metro and the East Mountains.

If you seek additional help or advice, contact a local landscaper or go to your nearest nursery.

September 21, 2021
By Michele Lesher

Tramway Cleanup Day!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are well and looking forward to some cooler weather!

I would like to have a Tramway Cleanup Day on Saturday, October 16th. I think this is an activity that can be done in a socially-distant manner (it is outside, and folks are very far apart). However, if you are at high risk for COVID OR not feeling well the day of the cleanup, we will be doing this again in April 2022 so it would be prudent to sit this one out. October 16th is the weekend after the Balloon Fiesta so I think it should be a great date!

We will start at 10:00 a.m. in the Albertson’s parking (corner of Academy and Tramway). If you will be able to make it, please email me (email address below) so I have enough supplies. Please bring a pair of gloves and a mask. I will have the bags and stylish orange vests for everyone! You will be doing a great favor for awesome Tramway Blvd, which has the beautiful Sandias as its backdrop!

If you want to share this information with anyone who might be interested in joining us, please do so.

Thank you! 

Michele Lesher
Tramway Cleanup Committee Chair and NM 556 Miles 9-10 Adopt-a-Highway Lead

August 31, 2021
By Harrison Jones

Extended Deadline!

Fellow Residents,

Due to several delays, we extended the deadline for returning Voting Member ballots to Friday, September 17th.

Thank you for your patience, and please vote!

Harrison Jones
Voting Member Chair

August 18, 2021
By Rebecca Murphy, Apache Plume Editor

A Tribute to Tom Murdock

Tom Murdock, who spent 16 years in continuous service on the High Desert Board of Directors and who devoted countless hours to the association as a volunteer since 2000, died July 27 following a fall at his home in Solterra.

“Tom was first elected to the Board in 2004 along with Ray Berg and me,” said Jay Hartfield. “He was then re-elected seven more times for a total of 16 years of continuous Board service. Nobody else even comes close.”

Tom began volunteering in 2000 as a Voting Member shortly after moving to High Desert with his wife Margo (a gardening columnist for the Apache Plume) from Houston, Texas. He went on to be elected to the first entirely homeowner-controlled High Desert Board of Directors in 2004, where he was elected Treasurer. Tom served as Treasurer for six years, as Vice President for two years and as President of the Board for eight years. Throughout that time he continued to operate his software company, Spring Lake Software, from his home.

If there was a High Desert special event in the park, a Welcome Committee Wine and Cheese party, a Run for the Hills race event, a quarterly Voting Member meeting or Board meeting—Tom was there.

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“I first met Tom in early 2006 within a year of my arrival at High Desert,” said Reg Rider, current President of the Board. “I served with Tom from 2007 to 2012 as a board member and board president. Tom was completely dedicated to ensuring that High Desert was the best in Albuquerque in everything we did. He was the Treasurer, set up the Run for the Hills race event annually, was an advocate for a multitude of resident activities and knew the High Desert covenants and bylaws in detail. I learned a lot from Tom and have always respected his opinion. He will be missed by High Desert."

Jay met Tom in 2000 when both were members of what at that time was a very small group of Voting Members that met monthly. “I didn’t know until Tom, Ray Berg and I were elected to the Board in 2004 that we had all been at Purdue University at the same time some 40 years earlier,” recalled Jay, “although none of us knew the others. A small world indeed.”

Ray Berg, current Board Treasurer, added, “All of us had a history with Purdue University, so we were referred to as the Purdue Mafia.” As members of the first homeowner-controlled board, the responsibility weighed heavily on members to get it right.

“Although the developer left the Association in excellent financial condition,” Ray said, “we had to devise our own procedures since the developer didn’t want to bias the board. So Tom had to come up with processes to manage all of the finances. We have continued to be in excellent financial health due in large part to Tom’s influence.”

“I guess that the one thing that impressed me most over the years,” said Jay, “was Tom’s unwavering commitment to the well-being of the High Desert community and to the preservation of the ideals upon which it was founded.   In that regard, he had no equals.”

Voting Member Chair Harrison Jones agreed. He observed Tom in action when he first attended a Voting Member meeting in 2015. “Tom’s intelligence, thoughtfulness and dedication to all things High Desert were abundantly clear,” he recalled. “His concern and personal advice regarding the relationship between Voting Members and the Board was a major factor in my decision to seek the Voting Member chairmanship. Tom was always ready to listen and share his experience and perspective. All of us will miss him.”

Clay Wright, past president of the Board, worked for several years with Tom. “His dedication to our community is unquestioned,” he said. “I cannot begin to calculate the hours of time he donated in the service of High Desert. He did so with no interest in accolade or recompense. Our community’s thoughtful stewardship was his single focus. I will deeply miss my friend.”

Lynn Claffy, current Contracts Chair, first met Tom in 2000 at a block party in Solterra. “The woman who hosted the party had an electric range that literally would not boil the large pot of water to cook the shrimp being served,” Lynn said. “The woman knew that my husband and I had a gas stove, so Tom carried the ten-gallon pot of water filled with tons of raw shrimp down to our house to cook the meal.”   

Lynn remembers Tom as a close friend. “He was someone who was always there no matter what,” she said. “When I was laid off after 35 years, he coached me on how to become a consultant in my field. My birthday is New Year’s Eve. Tom and his wife Margo have prepared a delicious dinner for me and whomever I want to invite as guests for the last 15 years. When my husband was scheduled for surgery last summer, he drove us to the hospital. Tom will be missed by so many.”

David Bentley, former Vice President of the Board, recalled his time with Tom. “Working with Tom was a learning experience for me because I had no experience as a member of a board of directors for a homeowners association,” Dave said. “Tom immediately took me under his wing and helped me to learn the ropes. I was amazed with the wealth of information he had about how the Board of Directors functioned and situations ranging from a welcoming party for new residents to handling legal issues in court cases. Tom knew all the rules and regulations and was very adamant that following these was a necessity. He devoted a huge number of hours each day to this end and consulted with me by telephone at all hours including early mornings, late evenings, and mealtimes! I was always uncomfortable when Tom would vacation away from Albuquerque because I knew I could not fill his shoes. I am proud that Tom and I became very close friends.”

Susan Camp, Communications Co-Chair, remembered that Tom never avoided unpopular issues “Tom was usually the first one to step up when Voting Members brought up sensitive issues,” she said. “Even when he knew people would be unhappy, he didn’t shy away from the discussions that needed to happen.”

Russ Rhoades, former Chair of the Voting Member group, remembers first meeting Tom back in 2004 when Russ was on the Nominating Committee considering homeowners running for the Board of Directors.Tom had put his name in and Russ and the Committee interviewed him and put   Tom’s name on the slate. “Tom’s heart was always in the right place,” Russ recalled. “He always tried to serve the best interests of the High Desert community and the association.”

Dr. Janet Brierley, former Board Director, worked for several years with Tom. “When I joined the Board, Tom was already something of a legend in High Desert,” she said. “He had been working for the community for years and had a wealth of knowledge. As Board President, he patiently explained the background of ongoing issues and used his historical knowledge of the community to give measured and thoughtful opinions in Board meetings. As Treasurer, he streamlined the reports, making them concise and easily understood, and completely overhauled the method of calculating reserve funds. The residents of High Desert will benefit from Tom’s hard work for years to come.”

In 2014 Tom was asked in an interview with the Apache Plume why he continued to remain so involved with the association. “I will continue to volunteer as long as my contribution is wanted and valued,” he said. “There have been some challenging moments over the years, but I have tried to make a positive difference for High Desert.”   

This article first appeared in Apache Plume, August 2021.

July 26, 2021

Summer Voting Statements of Interest Now Due July 31!

Dear Neighbor,

Property owners in about half of all High Desert Villages soon will elect Voting Members, and we need talented residents like you to consider volunteering. Each village has a unique character with needs that change over time. Voting Members provide the conduit to represent these diverse interests to the Board of Directors and the management company as they work to maintain and improve our community. Voting Member duties include communicating with residents, electing the Board of Directors, and voting on changes to High Desert governing documents. 

Why would you want to be a Voting Member or Alternate? Most importantly, you have the opportunity to help our community respond to challenging environmental, technological, and social changes. Fresh ideas are always needed! Also, it is a great way to learn about High Desert and to meet many other volunteers and neighbors. 

The first step will be to collect Statements of Interest (SOIs) from residents who are willing to help. Now is the time to consider volunteering and to have your questions answered. Feel free to contact current Voting Members or the Board of Directors

Please consider volunteering! 

Harrison Jones
Pin᷉on Point
Voting Member Chair

June 20, 2021
By Fire Prevention Committee

Help Prevent Fires This Summer!

Given the extreme heat and fire danger, the Fire Prevention Committee requests that you please respect the danger.

Open Fires: Avoid use of open fires such as firepits unless a spark arrestor is used.On BBQs with open flames, keep away from the home and vegetation. Always have a hose or fire extinguisher available.

Fire Torches: Never use fire torches or firesticks to get rid of weeds. These techniques are only used by professional Forestry personnel in controlled situations, and not in our neighborhood.

Fireworks: Aerial fireworks are not allowed at any time in High Desert.If you hear any, call Security or 242-COPS or 911. 

Red Flag Days: On windy days and when Red Flag days have been declared, any use of outdoor fire should be avoided.

We cannot take any chances in our high-risk community located in this Wildland Urban Interface. While we may not be able to prevent wildfire started by nature, we can prevent those started inadvertently by careless use of fire. With proper precautions, we can protect our homes and neighborhoods through our actions. 

            City of Albuquerque Restrictions

“We are in critical Fire Weather conditions with the on-going drought, high heat, and lack of precipitation,” said Fire Chief Gene Gallegos. “We as a community have a shared responsibility to keep our Open Spaces safe for all to enjoy.”

The following fire restrictions are established for all open space areas in the municipal boundaries of the City of Albuquerque or owned by the City of Albuquerque. Increased fire restrictions shall be determined by the Fire Chief and shall be based upon current fire indices, fire behavior predictions, current and expected weather conditions, drought indices, human factors, ignition factors and local factors that would cause undue strain on local fire agencies in the event of a fire.

  • No camping or stove fires; no camping
  • No smoking
  • No fireworks or other pyrotechnic devices
  • No off-roading
  • No operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal or external combustion engine
  • No operating spark-emitting equipment
  • No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame

Each violation shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Whereas we can't impose the same restrictions on the lots that interface with open arroyos, High Desert residents should consider it an issue for their own properties, including when they hire someone to do construction/maintenance (smoking and certain equipment).

Let's make this fire season and Fourth of July the safest ever for High Desert.



February 19, 2021
By Rebecca Murphy

New Town Hall Monthly Meetings

Board President Reg Rider has begun a new way to communicate directly with High Desert residents. For the first time in association history, regular Town Meetings are being held each month for the Board to hear directly from homeowners about their concerns. Unlike Voting Member quarterly meetings or Board monthly meetings, which use an agenda, Town Meetings (now held via Zoom) are generally more free-wheeling with Reg and other Board members who might attend fielding questions from homeowners as they arise.

“We only ask that people be civil and not bring up personal issues and complaints that do not concern the association as a whole,” Reg said. Residents can email their questions before the town meetings if they prefer.

More than 50 homeowners attended each of the two previous meetings in December and January. Topics ranged from gate malfunctions to the spate of recent vehicle break-ins at High Desert Park and the trailheads.

“I was hearing that these vehicle break-ins were of major concern,” said Reg. “I asked Ray Berg (Board Treasurer) on the spot if we had enough money to pay for extra patrols for a trial period. He said we did. I brought it up the next week at the Board meeting and we voted to have extra patrols for a 90-day period. We will evaluate after that. The input we got from the January Town Meeting was instrumental in getting things moving.”

Reg, a retired brigadier general with the Air Force, said he decided to use the forum of an open Town Meeting while he was serving as a Wing Commander at an air force base that was closing down. “Closing a base is difficult and everyone had concerns and questions,” Reg recalled. “We decided to hold a base-wide town meeting and I stood up and just fielded questions. We got great input, people were satisfied that they were being heard and we were able to solve some pressing concerns. I wanted to use the same forum here and so far, it has worked just as well.”

Check our Calendar for upcoming Town Meetings. Residents should contact HOAMCO at 505-314-5862 to register to receive a Zoom meeting invitation.

(A longer version of this article first appeared in the February 2021 Apache Plume newsletter.)