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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

January 2012

Electronic Edition

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

"Nail the Resolution!"


Everybody makes resolutions.  We know well that these resolutions can have real teeth, or they can be paper tigers.  

The Sierra Club’s 2012 resolution is to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet (the same resolution we’ve had since 1892)! We’ve had frequent victories, but it is certainly an ongoing effort. 

As you can see from the constant flow of news on our Facebook wall, there is a never-ending flood of environmental accidents, tragedies, and purposeful impacts that we strive to prevent, ameliorate, or challenge, respectively.

In 2012, much of our attention is likely to focus on the oil & gas industry, the Flaming Gorge Pipeline, and the Roadless Rule, among a spectrum of other work from state-wide to local levels. 

So what did you resolve to do in 2012? Lose some holiday weight? Read more books? Volunteer more? We can help you nail that last resolution. Take a look at our volunteer opportunities listed in this newsletter, sign-up, and be persistent.  Sierra Club is your organization, and is largely run by volunteers.

In 2012, we have high hopes for our volunteer efforts.  We're going to be building new conservation campaigns, recruiting to our Legislative and Legal Committees, and recruiting and training volunteers for our Fundraising Team.

I look forward to working with you in 2012!


FEATURED ACTION: Thank Senator Udall for Wilderness and Rivers Advocacy

By Lauren Swain

Mark Udall (D-CO)
Take Action!

Senator Mark Udall has long been a champion of wild places. But on two recent issues he has been particularly out front and engaged.  Please take the time to thank him for his actions.

On the national scene: Several weeks ago, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a markup on S. 1134, a bill that would allow for construction of a highway-style bridge over the federally-protected St. Croix River on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

The bill would set a dangerous precedent for protected Wild and Scenic Rivers everywhere.

Read more and take action...

New 1011856FEATURED VOLUNTEER: Kirk Cunningham, Conservation Issues Co-Chair

By Mary Coday Edwards

Kirk Cunningham2 
With his years of knowledge and experience, long-time Sierra Club member Kirk Cunningham is the Rocky Mountain Chapter’s “go-to” man for facilitating the Chapter’s conservation efforts. (Kirby Hughes is the other co-chair, and is another great go-to guy: keep your eyes open for a future article on him.) 

In the following interview, Kirk reflects on his activism, how the environmental movement has changed and why the Club remains relevant to the global environmental movement due to its unique “tool box”.



Watch this space! We will feature inspiring stories from a different Sierra Club volunteer each month!

A Walk in the Woods: The Bluffs

By Bill Bruner

Bluffs Park

Often in my life trying to find time to get away and enjoy the outdoors is a challenge. Since I’ve moved to Colorado, that challenge has grown because I long to be out in the beauty we have around us every day. 

Even though the mountains are close for many of us, when I don’t have the time to run away to even the foothills, I’ve found a place that warms my heart and allows me to see the front range in all its glory!  This place is called Bluffs Regional Park. It is located off of I-25 south of Denver.


Don't miss the joint Audubon-Sierra Club Legislative Forum!

The Audubon Society of Greater Denver and the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club invite you to attend the 2012 Legislative Forum to learn about the hot environmental topics of the upcoming session. This is always an entertaining and educational event!

After the continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., participants will review the session’s environmental bills and discuss several of the key issues with invited experts, including legislators. In 2012, hot topics will include the merger of the Colorado Division of Wildlife and State Parks, and possible threats to
Buy Tickets ButtonGreat Outdoors Colorado.
A final agenda will be available shortly before the meeting on the ASGD website.

: Saturday, February 4th, 2012.  First Plymouth Church, 3501 S. Colorado Blvd., Englewood, CO 80113 (map).

We can always use help with setup, cleanup, and to cook a potluck lunch dish. We reimburse expenses.

For more information, or to let us know you're bringing a potluck lunch dish, contact
Angela Medbery (303-443-2608).

Buy your tickets today!

Featured Group: Sangre De Cristo Group (SdCG) - Southern Colorado Under Siege

By Ross Vincent, SdCG Executive Committee Chair

The Sangre de Cristo Group continues to struggle with multiple assaults on the people and places of southeastern Colorado, chief among them the Pentagon’s plans to capture most of SE Colorado for a massive multi-million-acre joint forces training area.  

Their ongoing plans to expand the Army’s Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in Las Animas County continue to threaten the generational ranchers of the area, the incredible grasslands ecosystems they help to protect, and the irreplaceable historic, cultural and biological resources of the area. 



For more information about the Sangre de Cristo Group, check out our website or contact Ross Vincent.

If you're not in the Sangre de Cristo Group, you can check out all of the latest actions the other groups are involved with by finding your group.

Volunteer Opportunity for Marketing Intern!


We are seeking volunteer salesperson to sell display ads for the print version of our Peak & Prairie newsletter. Experience in ad sales, marketing or publishing would be useful but is not strictly necessary.

Potential advertising clients might include chapter members with small businesses, outdoor equipment and clothing merchants, adventure tour companies, resorts, natural food stores etc. Any business with an outdoor sports orientation or environmental concerns would be a natural fit for our newsletter, but we accept all types of advertising that do not conflict with our mission.

This would be an ideal position for a student who could set up an internship for college credit for marketing, advertising or related courses. However,  all interested parties are encouraged to apply. 

If you are interested, contact Joshua Ruschhaupt at


Capacity-Bulding Team

This team has one of the most important functions for any non-profit organization -- volunteer recruitment and development. We're searching for great candidates: 
  • Recruitment specialist
  • New Volunteer Orientation specialist
  • Committee/Team-building training specialist
  • Campaign training specialist
  • Monitoring and evaluation specialist
  • Sierra Club systems specialist (databases, email, et cetera) 
If you are interested in volunteering to be trained or lead in one of the above roles, contact Joshua Ruschhaupt with "Capacity-Building Team" in the subject line at

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

Please 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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Visit the Chapter's events calendar 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!

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Must-See Event: Best Front Range Snowshoe Routes 
with Alan Apt

Snowshoe Alan Apt
Get your tickets today!

Who: Alan Apt, Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Wilderness Chair

What: This instructional clinic will cover basic snowshoeing techniques, what kind of gear to use, what to wear, how to select or buy snowshoes, and how to avoid avalanches.

Come and enjoy photos of 80+ beautiful trails, mountain summits, winter lakes, and snowshoeing trails for everyone, from beginners to mountaineers.

Admission is $22 and includes an autographed copy of Alan's new book Snowshoe Routes: Colorado's Front Range, 2nd edition (a $24.95 value), the clinic, and a slideshow.

Friday, January 20th, 6:30 PM.

REI Flagship Store, 1416 Platte St., Denver, CO 80202 (map).

Your ticket purchase and optional donation helps the Sierra Club protect wilderness, water and air quality, and support renewable energy.

Get your tickets today!

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Featured Outings

Ouzel Falls Showshoe
(Rocky Mountain National Park)

Sunday, Jan 22

Join the Indian Peaks Group for this moderate hike to frozen Ouzel Falls. It will be about 8 miles roundtrip with about 950 feet of elevation gain, a moderate hike with a gradual climb and just a couple of short steeper sections.

Most of the hike is through dense forests but with a lot of features along the way including one section that has burned in a fire and even views of Longs Peak.

Bring, lunch, water, snowshoes, warm clothing and the ten essentials. Contact Mike Whiteley (303-776-7396).

"Outings Leadership 101" Training Class

Saturday, January 28
9:00AM – 4:00PM

This class is a wonderful and rewarding experience for those interested in becoming Sierra Club Outings Leaders. This hands on experience will be a short hike where we will go through how to lead a hike and all of the factors of leading hikes for the Sierra Club.

After completing this class and another first aid class, you will be ready to lead some hikes! You do not need to be an outdoor expert to lead hikes. There are many different types of outings that can be done, all you need to have is a desire to help others experience the outdoors!

Outings can be almost anything from difficult climbs or backpacking trips to simple day hikes or even just trips out to see museums or movies, speakers etc. It is up to you as a leader as to what you do so the best way to have trips that you like to do is to lead them.

Bring: lunch, water, warm clothing, snowshoes and the ten essentials. For more information, or to sign up, 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, and tent);
Repair Kit (tools, knife, cord, and 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!

Did your holiday treat you to an upgrade from your old computer?  Don't throw it out!  The RMC is waiting with open arms to receive your well-loved equipment.  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 desktop computers with functional screens and at least Windows 2003 as an operating system.

-Mouse pointers.

-Flat screen monitors.

-Presentation projector.

Thanks in advance! Contact Chapter Director Joshua Ruschhaupt right away!


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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