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Peak and Prairie E-newsletter
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

August 2011

Electronic Edition

Message from the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Director, Joshua Ruschhaupt:

"Sacrifice Zones"

Is it winter yet?
It was 97 degrees yesterday.

A close, wise, and environmentally conscious friend once suggested to me that there are certain zones of human impacts that could be considered sacrificial, like a ski area.  And that it is better to corral those impacts into a single area than to allow these impacts to spread.


FEATURED ACTION: Let the Forest Service and Breckenridge Ski Resort know that expansion isn't the answer.

By Rick Warren, Blue River Group Executive Committee Chair

pine forest
Protect Peak 6!

Take Action!

The proposed Peak 6 Project would open approximately 550 acres of forest to development. The plan would involve clear-cutting a large swath of healthy old-growth forest, and could jeopardize the habitat of numerous species, including the endangered lynx.

Please help us speak out against the Peak 6 Project!

Read more and take action...

A Walk in the Woods

By Bill Bruner Communications Team

Bill Bruner picture 2.2

Let’s face it, we all love the outdoors - that’s why we’re members of the Sierra Club, but how many of us get a chance to truly appreciate the beauty all around us in this wonderful place we call Colorado? I’m new here, and after spending the majority of my life in the Midwest, I have come to love the splendor that is this lovely state. 

I joined the Sierra Club nearly 20 years ago, and appreciate our mission to protect, educate, and to bring to light the things we all need to do to make this place a better place. My mission, though, is simply to enjoy the beauty around me. I have been inspired to write this column in the tradition of John Muir who was one of many that formed the Sierra Club so many years ago. His often-quoted words “The mountains are calling and I must go” is the way I’ve always lived my life.


FEATURED GROUP: The Pikes Peak Group

By Jane Ard-Smith, Pikes Peak Group Executive Committe Chair


Pikes Peak group, Mt Rosa Hike

The Pikes Peak Group (PPG) is a very active group in the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter. The PPG includes El Paso, Lincoln, Cheyenne, Kit Carson, Elbert, and Teller Counties, as well as part of Park County. The PPG has five main focus areas for conservation work: Mining, Pikes Peak Highway, Recycling, Urban Issues, and Wilderness. Each committee is led by an Executive Committee (ExCom) member who serves as the group’s liaison to their community partners.


For more information about the Pikes Peak Group, check out their website or contact Jane Ard-Smith

If you're not in the Pikes Peak Group, you can check out all of the latest actions the other groups are involved with by finding your group at

WE NEED YOU: A Call for Nominees

By Maggie Pedersen, Nominating Committee Chair

Uncle Sam I want You

The Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) is seeking leaders to run for "At Large" positions on the Executive Committee (the RMC equivalent of a Board of Directors). There are four positions open for the upcoming 2 year term (January 2012 December 2013). We are looking for a diverse pool of Sierra Club members to run for these positions.

The Executive Committee (known as the ExCom) is comprised of 7 'At Large' positions (directly elected by RMC members) and 9 delegates representing the groups throughout the state. This board oversees the operations of the chapter. There are quarterly in-person meetings held at various locations around the state and one-hour monthly phone meetings held during the intervening months.


Save the Date: Sunday, October 16, 2011 National Plug In Day

By Betty Harris, Energy Committee Member

From oil to electric vehicles!

You have an opportunity to help promote the myriad benefits of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) in cities coast to coast! Thousands of new EVs have arrived in several cities, and earlier EVs already have enabled hundreds of thousands of miles of cleaner, petroleum-free driving.

Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association are teaming up to plan this unprecedented effort. We expect to simultaneously hold events in at least 12 cities. Our top choices are: L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Washington D.C., Detroit, Houston, Austin, Nashville and New York City. Others are under consideration too.

An event is being planned for the Denver Metro Area. Anyone interested in volunteering and/or including a personal electric vehicle in the event is encouraged to contact Betty Harris at, or 720.560.3806.

Kingston Peak Alpine Restoration with Wildland Restoration Volunteers: Volunteers Needed

By Alan Apt, Chapter Wilderness Chair


Eco-repair work!

Help restore and protect alpine and subalpine habitat near Kingston Peak, south of Nederland and the James Peak Wilderness, along the popular Apex Road. Several subalpine sites have been impacted by motorized recreation along unofficial roadways, forming erosion gullies in this sensitive environment.

Working at elevations over 11,000 feet, volunteers will plant seeds, transplant vegetation, install erosion matting, construct drainage structures and a buck'n'rail fence. Volunteers will camp in a lovely forested area a few miles from the site.

Kingston Peak borders the James Peak Wilderness. The Indian Peaks Group of the Sierra Club was very active in getting the James Peak Wilderness Act passed. Help us restore this beutiful and fragile environment!

Click here for more information...

Featured Volunteer Opportunity: Fundraising Team

By Bill Bruner, Communications Team

Volunteers run the Rocky Mountain Chapter, and we currently have a great need for people to join the new fundraising team. If you know how to put together fundraising events, or how to solicit funds from individuals, we need your help to grow the chapter.  This is your chance to make a difference in Colorado, and to use your skills to help us become stronger and more vital to the state. If you'd like to volunteer for this team, fill out the online volunteer form today!

Updated: Volunteer Leadership Openings!

The RMC Runs on People-Power!

Would you believe that the Sierra Club runs more from volunteer leadership than staff leadership? It's true -- there are literally thousands of volunteer leaders in different leadership capacities in 63 chapters and over 400 groups nationwide! Believe it or not, there's only one RMC chapter staff person right now, the Director, working with over 150 great volunteer leaders in the chapter and groups. So it's critical that you contact us right away, even if you're only remotely thinking about spending a few hours or more per week helping out the environmental movement in Colorado.

Colorado's environment needs your activism and advocacy -- the writing's on the wall! You show up, and we'll train you. There's even a lot of stuff you can do right from home. Doesn't matter where you are in Colorado -- we're recruiting for the Chapter, and that covers the entire state! If you're interested, we've got a volunteer role to fit your interests, skills, experience, and knowledge.

If after reading through the roles below you're still unsure of where you might fit in, that's no problem. Just fill out the volunteer interest form on our website at

Together as an organized movement we will win!

Read the full list of volunteer opportunities...

Donate Online

We hope you saw our
email last week- it shared
some of our recent successes, and asked for your support to help keep us going strong.

Thanks to those who decided
to help us by making
a contribution!

Support your
Rocky Mountain Chapter.

We depend on your support to do all of this great work!

Contribute on our secure website today.


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Peak and Prairie

The Peak and Prairie is the official Chapter newsletter.

You can read the current
and previous issues of our printed and e-newsletter
on the Chapter's
newsletter webpage.

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Outings Calendar
Visit the Chapter's events page to find out about outings, conservation and political activities, and more.

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Join the Sierra Club

Not a Sierra Club member yet? No problem -- just click on the "Join Now!" button to become a member today at just $15! 

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Like us on Facebook now!

Become a fan of the
Rocky Mountain Chapter on Facebook and get our latest updates and relevant news. We just surpassed 480 new Facebook friends!

Lately, we've been synchronizing a lot of the outings and events that are listed on our website calendar, so that our Facebook community can see them.  Thank you for your patience with the high-volume of posts!

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Must-See Events: "Moving Planet"



What: Moving Planet will be a day to put our demands for climate action into motion—marching, biking, skating—calling for the world to go beyond fossil fuels.

Saturday, September 24

Global events, see their website for Colorado-based events

"For too long, our leaders have denied and delayed, compromised and caved. That era must come to an end: it's time to get moving on the climate crisis."

If you'd like to help organize a Moving Planet event on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Chapter, contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt right away!


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Featured Outings

After work bike ride, Cherry
Creek bike path

Wednesday, August 31

Join the Denver Metro Outings on an evening bike ride along the bike trails in Denver.

Starting at Confluence Park, we will ride through downtown along the Cherry Creek bike path at an easy to moderate pace for a total of 10-15 miles, or as time permits.

See and explore some the sites of Denver at a casual pace from your bike. Bring a bike, a helmet, water, snacks, and a rain jacket.

Contact Mike Whiteley to sign up and for carpool information at 303-776-7396.

Indian Peaks Group (IPG) Classic: Mount Chiquita
(Rocky Mountain National Park)

Moderate Hike
Saturday, September 3

One of the easiest 13er's in Colorado, Mount Chiquita is a great climb for your first time at high altitude. Join the IPG for this short but strenuous climb to one of the spectacular peaks in RMNP.

Because of the trailhead being on Old Fall River Road, the hike is much shorter than what many peaks are: 4.8 miles roundtrip with 2429 feet of elevation gain. This is a climb that most average hikers can do. Even though it is a shorter hike, it still has all of the views and thrill of being above tree line.

As part of the Mummy Range and part of the famous Colorado Grand Slam, Chiquita is a wonderful place to start climbing. Bring: boots, water, lunch, the ten essentials. Plan on a very early start.

Contact Mike Whiteley at 303-776-7396.

THE "TEN ESSENTIALS" -- The Sierra Club recommends the following be carried at all times when hiking in the backcountry:

Navigation (map and compass);
Fire (matches, lighters, and accelerant);
Signaling Device (whistle or mirror);
Sun Protection (sunglasses and sunscreen);
Insulation (extra clothing);
Nutrition (extra food);
Hydration (extra water and tablets);
Illumination (headlamp or flashlight);
First Aid Kit;
Emergency Shelter (tarp, bivy sack, tent);
Repair Kit (tools, knife, cord, tape).

OUR RMC WEBSITE HAS OTHER OUTINGS INFO THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST -- A Sierra Club Sign-In and Liability Waiver form must be signed before participating in outings -- if you desire to review a copy, please contact your trip leader.


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Wish List!

The Chapter is GROWING, and our technology hasn't.  This is a new section that we're starting because the best way to recycle is to re-use!  As the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure!  If you can offer any of the following in working order, we'd be very grateful!  Please do not offer anything that will take more time and/or money to repair than if we spent the money to buy it.

-Working desktops or laptops; PC computers with functional screens and at least Windows 2003 as an operating system.

-Mouse pointers

-Flat screen monitors

-Internet router

Thanks in advance!


Uncle Sam I want You

Rocky Mountain Chapter | 1536 Wynkoop Street, 4th floor, Denver CO 80202, 303-861-8819 | Contact Us

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Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.