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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

March 2012

Electronic Edition

Message from the Chapter Director,
Joshua Ruschhaupt

"The task force is a joke."

Gunnison Sage Grouse Video
Gunnison Sage Grouse,
by  Nappadol Paothong.

As I reflect over last month and the next, with so many things happening, I'm reminded why we started this e-newsletter in the first place.  If you've befriended us on our Facebook page (which just hit 700 friends on the night of this writing), you'll have seen just how much is going on in the state relative to the environment.  Even then, we only capture a fraction of it there, with several posts a day- when we can get to it.

So you'll understand when I say that, on occasion, such as right this moment, your involvement could be the weight that tips the balance on several issues that will impact Colorado for decades.

Below are many issues that you should either know about or can directly influence by making your comments and participation known.  It might feel like a barrage of do-gooding, and, well, it is!

  • First, let me start by asking you to make note of our Legislative Tracker.  It's a great place to reference House and Senate bills frequently throughout the January-May legislative session as it evolves. You will see links to bill language, summaries, as well as a note about our position on each one. Our Legislative Committee would love to hear from you if you're interested in volunteering with them- they need a few more, and now is an exciting time!
  • Next, the "Colorado Roadless Rule" is the wrong direction for the supposed protection of our cherished wild lands in Colorado.  It provides too many exemptions for too many forms of industrial development.  The Federal Roadless Rule is what all the cool kids support!  Read all about it below, or here
Shane Davis on Deliberate Conversations
From left to right,
COGA's Tisha Schuller, 
Deliberate Conversations 
host Ralph Gregory, and
RMC's Shane Davis. 
  • Last week, our Oil & Gas Campaign's volunteer Information & Research Manager, Shane Davis, went toe to toe for 30 minutes with the industry's spokeswoman, Tisha Schuller, on Boulder's Channel 8 program Deliberate Conversations.  The video will be posted on their website within days, but our thanks to Channel 8 for providing an early screenshot image.  Shane was also just mentioned in the news with a visit to his fracking-impacted neighborhood by U.S. Representative Jared Polis this week.
  • Those of you in Colorado Springs are already aware, but the Club's Beyond Coal campaign is in full swing there, with an action-alert sent out to our members this week to ask the Utilities Board to reconsider their prior decision to drop wind energy from their energy mix.  Is king coal going to be phased out? Your comments could help, especially if you can comment on your personal experience in Colorado Springs, and why clean air and water, and healthy people are so important to you.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Colorado now has a merged Parks and Wildlife Commission, due to the economic hardships of each prior state department operating separately.  But special interests want more representation in the yet to be decided Commission composition. In the newsletter below, please take the time to read and add your comments to the action alert on this.  If you love Colorado's parks and wildlife, what you say to the legislators "making sausage" out of a bill that started with the Parks and Wildlife Commission's Sierra Club-backed recommendation will impact Colorado for years, if not decades to come.

FEATURED ACTION: Protect Colorado's Parks and Wildlife!

By Mary Coday Edwards
Legislative Committee Chair

Trick question (not): Who should be on the commission responsible for overseeing Colorado's Parks Department and Division of Wildlife, recently formed after the merger of the state's Parks and Wildlife Divisions:

a) members of special interest groups, such as big oil and gas; OR

b) scientific experts who can make the best decisions in keeping with the agency's mission?

New Colorado Parks and Wildlife Logo
Take Action

House bill HB12-1317, which legislates the commission using Option (a) above, is moving through Colorado’s legislature. As noted in an earlier Action Alert, the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) supports the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission proposed composition as stated in a letter written in December, 2011, by RMC's Kirk Cunningham, Conservation Co-Chair, to Mike King, Director, Colorado Department of Natural Resources.

Read more and take action...

 



Take Action: Big Oil in Colorado's Roadless Areas?

The old-growth ponderosa pines of the HD Mountains within the beautiful San Juan Range. The black bear population of Clear Forks Divide. Colorado's National Forests are home to some of our most prized and amazing wild places. But for years, they have been threatened by oil and gas drilling.

North Kaibab ponderosa pines
Take Action
 

Now the Obama administration has the chance to protect these special wild places, but they're under pressure from special interests like Big Oil and Gas to allow drilling and other development.

Tell President Obama that Coloradoans will stand with his administration if they say "no" to Big Oil and Gas!

Read more and take action...



Roadless... is More:A Brief History of Colorado's Roadless Rule Dilemma

By Lauren Swain

 Forest Road, courtesy of EPA
Photo courtesy of EPA.

Few but the most avid policy wonks can navigate the meandering path leading up to Colorado's current "roadless rule" dilemma. But the story of the rule sheds light on the complex and daunting system that determines whether public lands may continue to exist in their natural state--providing immeasurable value for wildlife, forests, water quality, and quiet recreation--or whether they are forever compromised, while providing short-term profits to a few.

Read more...


Citizen Input Wanted: Your Chance to Influence Wilderness Policy

Mark Udall (D-CO) - 2Senator Mark Udall, with the support of Senator Michael Bennet, is actively seeking public input in developing proposals for a new Arkansas River Canyon National Park, and wilderness protection for Brown's Canyon and as many as 32 additional areas throughout Colorado's Central Mountains, including expansion of current wilderness areas at Holy Cross, Eagles Nest, and Maroon Bells.

Sen. Udall's website emphasizes his view that identifying natural areas for federal protection supports Colorado's local tourism economy.  And his publicity suggests that new wilderness legislation could protect current uses of some of the areas, such as the Colorado Air National Guard's high-altitude helicopter training area.

This is a major opportunity for RMC members and supporters to have an influence on developing new wilderness areas and policies in our state.  Please contact Udall's office and attend one of his public meetings in the near future.  For more information, and to comment, please go to these links:

Arkansas River Canyon National Monument and Browns Canyon Wilderness Maps and Comment Form

Central Mountain Maps and Comment Form


FEATURED VOLUNTEER: Alan Apt,
Wilderness Chair


By Lauren Swain

Alan Apt
Alan Apt
This year, Alan Apt plans to inspire Sierra Club members to advocate for wilderness protection by leading tours to proposed wilderness areas throughout Colorado. 

Alan, a 35-year Sierra Club veteran, now serves as our Rocky Mountain Chapter Wilderness Committee Chair - and he needs you. 

"I'm going to need the help of our members. I want to take people on outings, then have them advocate for these beautiful places - with the BLM, the Forest Service, and our representatives in congress.  My long-term goal is to engage more of our members in the process - visiting and identifying beautiful lands that have wilderness value, and lobbying to protect them as Wilderness Study Areas, or as wilderness areas.  I need members for my state-wide Wilderness team."

Read more...

---

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



A Walk in the Woods: Deer Creek Canyon

"The Beginning" - Bill Bruner - Small
By Bill Bruner

The journey I take when I walk through the woods is more to me than just the discovery of the beauty of nature, it is truly the discovery of myself.  For when I walk amongst the natural world I find a quiet and peace within me that I know nowhere else.

This month's journey is to a beautiful place in Jefferson County: Deer Creek Canyon.  To get there, take C-470 to Wadsworth Avenue South, turn right at South Deer Creek Canyon Road, go approximately 4 miles to Grizzly Drive, turn left  and wind your way for ¼ to a ½ of mile to the parking (on your right).

The trails we took created our own loop. The total hike is approximately 2.7 miles, it begins at an elevation of 5,950 feet, and peaks at a height of 6,450 feet.  The total elevation gain is 500 feet, and it's a glorious romp through the foothills that gives you amazing views of the Front Range, Denver, and the surrounding Deer Creek Canyon area.

Read more...

 

March Cartoon by Jim Anderson
Click to enlarge... 

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.

Read the full list of updated volunteer opportunities...


In this issue:
  • Director's Message
  • Alert: Parks & Wildlife
  • Alert: Roadless Rule
  • Roadless History 101
  • Alert: Udall Wants Input
  • Featured Volunteer: Apt
  • Hike: Deer Creek Canyon
  • "True" Tales of Eco-Disaster Comic
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Must-See Event
    • Outings
    • Wish List

Donate online!


Please support your Rocky Mountain Chapter. 


This month, if you are a member, you either have or will receive a mailed fundraising appeal from the Rocky Mountain Chapter.  


 In it, you will read about the incredible victories of our work over the past year, and a little about what's to come this year.

March is the only month of the entire year when we spend money to send a mailed appeal to every member in Colorado.  

We truly need your additional financial support to do all of the great work that the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter does.

Even if you're not a member, and you want to support our work, please send us a contribution so that we can keep fighting in the courts, at the legislature, and on the ground with our grassroots activism.  

Monthly contributions of as little as $10 make a huge difference to our budget, and give you a little reminder throughout the year about how you're making a difference.

Larger monthly and one-time contributions are, of course, welcome!

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


Contribute on our secure website today.

 

Please contribute now!

 

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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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Calendar
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. 


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Must-See Event:
Outings Leader 101 Training Class 

Hikers enjoy Grand Canyon's backcountry (Photo by Scott Spra)

Who: Anyone interested in becoming a Sierra Club Outings Leader (you?).

What: This outings leadership class will be a hands on experience! Participants will go on a short hike, and will learn how to lead an outing. After completing this class (and a first aid class), you will be ready to lead some hikes!


When:
Sunday, May 6, 2012.

Where:
TBA.

Why:
Outings can be almost anything from difficult climbs or backpacking trips to simple day hikes, or even a trip to the museum! 

Bring: lunch, water, warm clothing, snowshoes and the ten essentials. For more information, or to sign up, contact Mike Whiteley (303-776-7396) .

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Featured Outing

Browns Canyon Proposed Wilderness Day Hike

Saturday, March 17

7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Hike the newly-constructed BLM trail from Ruby Mountain, near Salida, amidst canyons and rock spires just east of the Arkansas River. 

This moderate trip will cover about six miles on gently sloping, lower elevation terrain, gaining less than 1,000 feet in elevation.  Participants will learn the latest about the campaign to permanently protect the BLM Wilderness Study Area and adjacent Forest Service roadless lands. 

The hike is sponsored by Pikes Peak Group Sierra Club, Wild Connections, and Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition. 

Participants should be 15 and older. For more information and to register, contact John Stansfield (303-660-5849) by 5:00 pm, March 16. 



Calling all Outings Leaders!

Monday, March 19th, 7 p.m.

Outings Leader Meeting

We are having an outings leader meeting for the new RMC Outings program where all current outings leaders are welcome to attend, as well as anyone else who is interested or would like to find out more about becoming an outings leader.

Outings are one of the Sierra Club's ways of fulfilling our mission to "Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet.  These outings can be anything from what you would normally think of when you hear the word "outings," like climbing, hiking tall peaks, snowshoeing, and bike riding to things like a river clean-up project, a group stroll around your favorite local lake, a trip to a nearby bird sanctuary or wildlife preserve, or even a trip to your local museums.  

Tying our outings to our conservation efforts, an outings leader can talk to our conservation issue leaders, and offer to lead a hike to an area they're working to protect, so that the people of Colorado can truely experience what would be lost without their help to protect it.  This is the traditional Sierra Club outing.  

You can be from anywhere in Colorado to be an outings leader for the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter.  

If interested, contact Mike Whiteley 303-776-7396. For more information and directions.



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's with functional screens and at least Windows 2003 as an operating system.

-Mouse pointers.

-Flat screen monitors.

-Experienced IT help in Denver.

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

 


Uncle Sam I want You



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