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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

November 2012

Electronic Edition

[Happy Holidays from the RMC Communications Team! We will not be distributing the Peak and Prairie in December due to the holidays, so please look forward to the next electronic edition of this newsletter in mid-January, 2013!]

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

"Elections shift paradigms."

I'm Voting For The Climate

More importantly, who
are you volunteering for?
Let's do what we do best, 
and organize for a
pro-environment election

It's election season, in case you couldn't tell from the avalanche of political ads you're currently buried under.  

I'm currently deployed on the Joe Miklosi for Congress campaign, in Colorado's 6th district.  Two other Sierra Club staff, Roger Singer and Bryce Carter, are deployed on Ed Perlmutter's and Sal Pace's campaigns, respectively.  

With as many undecided voters in Colorado as there are, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the avalanche of Citizens United-enabled political advertisements, this election, across several races, is shaping up to be a razor-thin election based on people who can be pursuaded at the last minute.  

And due to the recent census, all the political district maps have changed, making formerly unavailable races suddenly toss-up races.  Some races, as the Miklosi campaign predicts, are going to come down to the ground game.  How many boots-on-the-ground volunteers we have knocking on doors and making phone calls for these candidates may be the difference that creates Colorado's next decade in politics... in social issues... in environmental stewardship. 

If your Sierra Club-endorsed candidate lost by a razor-thin margin, as happened in 2010 in the Colorado State House of Representatives, where we've been dealing with near-gridlock and even vehement opposition on progressive issues for the last two years, would you feel like you could have volunteered and helped be the difference that made the difference for the entire election?  

Every campaign office for all of our endorsed candidates are pursuading undecided voters to vote for great candidates, and you could be one of those volunteers.

Feel guilty no more!  There are days left in this election that you could be the difference that makes Colorado's next decade one that will protect public lands instead of trying to cede it from the Federal government (that, seriously, was proposed in 2012).  

You could be the difference in making Colorado's backcountry, and back-roads, safe from armies of off-road vehicles, clear-cut or biofuel logging, or networks of new roads for mining.  

You could be the difference between a Tea Party extremist who wants to "drill baby drill," or a progressive candidate who is going to fight to stem the climate disruption tide with a renewable energy future.

I've always believed that we create the reality we live in.  One way we do that is to match our best representitives in government with the power to decide what's best for our nation, our state, and our environment.  People-power beats financial power, and right now is the time to stand up and make a difference, more than making sure you and everyone you know votes.  In addition to voting, you can volunteer.

Change the political paradigm.  You could watch the election (and all of the untruthful or sleazy ads and talking points), or you can take action and get involved to create the world you want to live in.  I've chosen the latter.  As a Sierra Club member, I hope you do too!  Find your Sierra Club endorsed candidate and say, "I'm a Sierra Club member ready to volunteer."  

Warm regards, 

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

P.S. Please contact me if you know of a web designer/webmaster who would like to volunteer to help us upgrade our website.  See details in the volunteer opportunities section below.


Featured State Candidates – Why It Matters

by Jane Ard-Smith

With the 2012 General Election just a few days away, the Sierra Club is actively supporting a number of pro-environment candidates who are running for federal and state offices. The full list of the Sierra Club’s endorsements can be found in last month’s print edition of the Peak and Prairie and on our website. In this month’s e-edition, we’d like to feature a few candidates who are running for the Colorado General Assembly.

These folks are in particularly tight races – if you live in these districts, we urge you to get to the polls and support these candidates. If you do not live in these districts, find out which candidates in your area are endorsed by the Sierra Club.

With all of the attention that the National Sierra Club is bringing to the federal elections, you may be wondering why the Rocky Mountain Chapter decided to focus our efforts on state races. Why do state races even matter? Well, the state legislature has a great deal of control over the issues that are priorities for the Rocky Mountain Chapter – including natural gas development. As an example, in 2012 the Colorado General Assembly considered a bill that would have given local governments more control over oil and gas development. It was defeated in the state house. The addition of one or two pro-environment legislators in the state house would have meant that local governments – and the citizens who elect them – would have had a greater say in determining their futures.

Joann Ginal

Joann Ginal, HD 52 (Fort Collins)

A Master Naturalist for the City of Fort Collins, Ms. Ginal cares deeply about preserving the special places that make our state a nationally-recognized place to buy a home, start a business, receive an education, or retire.

She notes that she is particularly concerned about “water sustainability, protecting the quality of our rivers, especially the Poudre—due to the High Park Fire, and making sure that fracking has the proper regulatory oversight and field studies to determine if it is safe.”

To learn more about Joann Ginal, please visit

Pete Lee, HD 18 (Colorado Springs)

Pete Lee

A 25-year + member of the Sierra Club, Rep. Lee is an avid skier, hiker, and runner. He received a 100 percent score from the Colorado Conservation Voters and has been a vocal proponent of renewable energy.

According to Rep. Lee, “Colorado must remain a global leader in the renewable energy economy – we have created thousands of good-paying, clean technology jobs here in Colorado by supporting renewable energy. We must continue to do so.”

Visit to learn more.

Andy Kerr

Andy Kerr, SD 22 (Lakewood)

After six years in the state house, Rep. Andy Kerr is running for this open senate seat because of his commitment to strong local schools and education.

A geography teacher, Rep. Kerr recognizes the link between the environment, sustainability, and education. He also recognizes that the sustainable choice is most often the best economic choice. “That’s why I sponsored legislation that helps schools stretch their tight budgets by making energy efficiency part of their designs.”

To find out more about Rep. Kerr, visit

Max Tyler

Max Tyler, HD 23 (Lakewood)

In his first year in the legislature, Rep. Max Tyler was prime sponsor of House Bill 10-1001 that expanded Colorado’s renewable energy portfolio to 30% by 2020.

His rationale? “The sun will always shine for free, the winds will always blow for free, and our energy production will be cleaner. Renewable energy, green jobs, and a cleaner future — what’s not to like?” We couldn’t agree more Rep. Tyler.

To find out more, visit



John Fielder to highlight two decades of lottery-funded GOCO improvements

John Fielder_credit_Craig_McNeil

Get your tickets today!
Event book sales support Rocky Mountain Chapter

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Would you like the opportunity to meet one of the world’s greatest landscape photographers and also see and hear how state lottery funds have made Colorado a better place to live? If so, plan to attend “Colorado's Great Outdoors: Celebrating 20 Years of Lottery-Funded Lands” in Denver on Friday, Dec. 7.

World-renowned photographer, John Fielder, will showcase his incomparable landscape photography and highlight his preservation work with Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) over the past two decades.



Featured Action: Support local control of oil and gas impacts!

by Shane Davis 

Take Action!\

The state of Colorado has sued the city of Longmont for passing ordinances setting reasonable standards for oil and gas production in a residential community.

Eighty-seven public officials from twenty-seven city and county governments in Colorado have rallied in support of the City of Longmont as it attempts to protect its citizens from the negative health, environmental, and financial impacts associated with oil and gas development.

Their letter, sent to Governor Hickenlooper states, "we are surprised and disappointed by your administration's decision to sue the City of Longmont for adopting rules to protect its residents from the risks and potential adverse impacts of oil and gas drilling within its geographic jurisdiction."

Please respond to this Rocky Mountain Chapter alert and tell Governor Hickenlooper to drop the lawsuit and recognize that local governments have both the right and responsibility to take action to protect the public health and well being of citizens and the environment.

Take action!


Election is ‘super critical’ for this Political Committee volunteer

Will Walters
By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

With the national election just days away, getting the right people elected into office is “super critical,” says Will Walters, a volunteer with Rocky Mountain Chapter’s (RMC) Political Committee.

Like other Sierra Club members, Will knows how critical it is to elect the best candidates, whose votes will determine our environmental future. This is why he joined the Political Committee─to be part of the process of endorsing appropriate candidates from Sierra Club’s point of view.

“A lot of environmental protection can and must be accomplished in the political legislative arena, to preserve wilderness and habitat and mandate air and water quality and other things,” Will says. “Conversely, a lot of damage can be done there when politicians sell out to monied interests who want to exploit the environment.”


Frack-Free Colorado features celebrity speakers, galvanizes local activists

Shane Davis at Podium(2).JPG
Shane Davis speaks against fracking.
Photo by Carol Carpenter.

Hundreds of Colorado citizens, environmentalists, government officials and visitors from around the country converged on Denver’s Civic Center Park on Oct. 23 to voice their growing concerns about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Colorado.

Included among the noted speakers, performers and supporters at the Frack-Free Colorado event were actresses Daryl Hannah and Mariel Hemingway, members of the Wallflowers and Elephant Revival, and Suzanne Jones, Boulder councilwoman.

Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter’s own “fractivist” Shane Davis also spoke at the event. Gravely concerned about the oil and gas industry’s increased drilling in the state, Davis said fracking─the procedure of injecting large amounts of water, sand, and toxic chemicals into the earth to release oil or gas from underground shale formations “is harmful to the environment.”  “We have a moral conviction to fight this--nothing about fracking is safe or natural,” he told the audience.

First Step Strong, Save Our Lands Hike-A-Thon fun, memorable
In September volunteers and hikers descended upon Roxborough State Park to take part in Rocky Mountain Chapter’s first annual Step Strong, Save Our Lands Hike-A-Thon. We enjoyed a great day of fun, sun and activism in one of Colorado’s most beautiful parks.
Hike-a-thon participants and volunteers.

Hikers carried a scorecard they presented at various check-points, where they received a stamped, colored dot for each trail they completed. Some brought pledge forms and sponsor donations. There was also a competition for prizes based on pledges. Congratulations to Linda Batlin, who won first prize for the highest number of pledges and Suzie Ahlers who came in second.
Special thanks to all volunteers who helped that day: Linda Batlin, Jonathan Fair, Jolynn Jarboe, Betsy Kelson, Lorita Kinman-Agarrat, Kathi Knipfer, Suzanna Koeller, Valerie Love, Kristina and John Palan, Sandy Reavey, Kathy Reiner, Hansi Rhead, Joshua Ruschhaupt, Sharon Sherman, Brett Travett, Rachel Van Schooneveld, and Mike Whiteley.

xmas global warming toon.jpg
View larger version...

Facebook Photo Contest

Congratulations to Steve Harbula! "Nymph Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park” was the winner of our September Facebook Photo Contest! To submit your entry for the November Photo Contest, please visit us at

 Steve Harbula

Updated: Volunteer Leadership Openings!


If, after reading through the available roles, 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!

Priority Conservation Campaign: Oil & Gas Campaign

The Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's most organized campaign is launching, and you can help!  We're working on recruiting the few final candidates for the core leadership team, and we're also looking for volunteers throughout the state who can organize, or help an organizer in your home, city, town, or rural area.  The goal is to build a network of volunteers throughout the state who learn about the industry, its practices, and what you can do about it locally.  Sign up with Joshua Ruschhaupt at

Communications Team Leaders 

The Communications Team is currently very strong, however, they are looking for reporters, a webmaster, and a social media specialist.  Depending on your level of experience, skillsets, interests, and available time, some of the above can be combined into one volunteer role. Check out our ad on Craigslist for a volunteer webmaster. The Communications Team is also seeking reporters to help develop content for our digital and print communications (including this newsletter!). Contact the Communications Team at

Outings Leaders

Colorado is a hiker's mecca. We're looking for a few more core-team leaders, and several outings leaders.  Are these you? Sierra Club is known for great outings with trained volunteer leaders. Let us train you to be one of them! Contact Mike Whiteley at for additional information.

Continue reading the list of available volunteer opportunities...

In this issue:
  • Director's Message
  • State candidates
  • John Fielder event
  • Support local control of oil and gas impacts
  • Featured volunteer: Will Walters
  • Frack-Free Colorado
  • Hike-a-thon
  • "True" Tales of Eco-Disaster Comic
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Must-See Event
    • Featured Outings
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea?
    • Photo Contest!

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Donate online!

Support the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter's Oil & Gas campaign by making a contribution right now.  

We depend on your support to do all of our 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 to get our latest updates and relevant news, or Meetup to join our latest activities, activism, and avocacy events. We're on Twitter, too!

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Must-See Event:
Colorado's Great Outdoors — Celebrating 20 Years of Lottery-Funded Lands

Colorado's Great Outdoors Cover 


WHAT: John Fielder will treat us to a slide show featuring his captivating photography accompanied by beautiful music married to the images from his ongoing work with Great Outdoors Colorado.

Before and after the presentation, John Fielder's classic photo books, calendars, and two new books will be available for purchase and signing by Mr. Fielder.

Friday, December 7, 2012, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Unity Church of Denver, 3021 S. University Blvd., Denver, CO  80210 (map)

Only $10/person.  Please consider making a donation of $40 for this event to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act.

WHY: 30% of gross proceeds from the sale of books and calendars will be donated to Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter and Colorado Clean Water Action for our ongoing conservation and advocacy work.

: Dave Read,

Click here for more information, and get your tickets today! 

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Featured Outings

Over the Hills, Through the Meadows, To Frazer Cabin We Go!

Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Saturday, Nov. 10
8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

 Over the Hills, Through the Meadows, To Frazer Cabin We Go! We will hike from Blue Grouse trailhead, down Horseshoe, and then over to Ralston Roost in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

This hike is 4.5 miles with 700 feet elevation change. On this hike, which requires a car spot, we will pass through meadows and forest on our way to Frazer cabin. We will briefly explore some of the area north and west of Frazer meadows.

Most of the elevation is at the start where we will switch back up a hillside to a ridge with views of the Gore Range and James Peak wilderness. After that, it is mostly flat and downhill with the exception of a short steep section before the end of the hike to connect with a ridgeline leading to Ralston Roost.

We will hike at a "photographer’s pace" (if the weather cooperates), allowing time to take photos or just take in the views. After the hike, we may stop for coffee and tea in Golden.

This is a child and dog friendly hike (dogs must be leashed). Since this hike is in a state park, there is a $7 fee for all vehicles.

Bring warm clothing, rain gear, food, water, and the ten essentials.

Please contact Annie at or 303-671-2486.


Easy Snowshoe Saturday

Saturday, Dec. 1
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Snow typically comes to the Pikes Peak region in late November. Join Pikes Peak Sierra Club Group for a moderate snowshoe hike to the best available local snow: a warmup for winter.

Length and altitude gain will depend on location. Beginners welcome. Although this hike is intended as a snowshoe hike, if snow conditions are light, we will conduct it as a regular hike.

Bring lunch, water, and appropriate clothing and footgear.

For information and to register, contact Jim Lockhart (719-385-0045).

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 desktop or laptop; PC computers with functional screens and at minimum Windows 2003 as an operating system.

-Mouse pointers.

-Flat screen monitors.

-Portable projection screen.

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

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Story Idea?

If you have a story idea for the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Peak and Prairie, just send a quick email to

Enter the photo contest!

Did you know that we have a monthly photo contest?  Check out the August "Mountains" theme photo contest winner.  The theme for the September contest is "water."  Submit your best water photo today!

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