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Peak and Prairie Enewsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

February 2013

Electronic Edition

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

"Move Forward, Colorado!"

Forward on climate denver.jpg

Join us in Denver this Sunday!
RSVP on Facebook now! 

This year, the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) is really gaining steam.  We're moving forward to protect Browns Canyon in southern Colorado, we have a great team of people working on Colorado's legislative front (read story below), we're hiring for a new conservation programs community organizer, and we're building a volunteer network in the Denver metro area, among so much other work happening by hundreds of volunteer leaders and activists in the RMC throughout Colorado.  This month's Peak & Prairie is just highlighting a few of the things we're doing.  

If you are a Sierra Club member, keep your eyes open for our fundraising letter in your mailbox in mid-March to help us explore, enjoy, and protect this wonderful state of Colorado!  

If you are not a dues-paying member of Sierra Club, but you appreciate our work, and want to support us, you won't receive our March appeal in the mail, but you can support us by joining or making a contribution right now!

One of the great activities Sierra Club is working on right now is to make sure that President Obama comes through on his bold promises for real action on reducing climate disruption.  Join us in Denver THIS SUNDAY, February 17th, for a rally in solidarity with tens of thousands of others across the country and at the White House in Washington D.C. to make sure the President starts to solidify his presidential climate legacy.  RSVP on Facebook now, and invite your friends, or RSVP to

Speaking of Facebook, we just reached 1,200 friends following our posts!  It's a milestone we hope to leave in the dust on our way to 2,000!  Help us get there by LIKING our page, and invite your friends to join us there.  You'll get the latest, greatest news relevant to our mission here in Colorado and beyond, our latest events, and you can win a 2013 Sierra Club photo calendar by submitting your monthly photo entry in our photo contest (details at bottom of sidebar).  

In addition to that, we started a page on, which is just for events like our outings program hikes and snowshoeing trips, so you can find others to meetup with online and then go meet in person to explore, enjoy, and protect Colorado, led by Sierra Club certified volunteer leaders.  We're up to 200 "Sierra Clubers" there, but we'd really love to see that number climb!  Our outings are really popular there!

Let's move forward together!

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director 

Colorado Legislative Update
By Mary Edwards
Legislative Committee Chair

Mary Coday Edwards
Mary Edwards
 Legislative Committee Chair

We are now one-quarter through Colorado's 2013 legislative session, which runs from January to mid-May. Good news on two bad bills that didn't even make it out of Committee, bills that were designed to chisel away and thereby weaken Colorado's Renewable Energy Standard: SB13-003 would have further subsidized the coal industry by classifying methane gas captured from coal mines as a "renewable energy", and SB13-063's goal was to categorize burning trash as a renewable. To see what other bills RMC's Legislative Committee has taken a position on, check out our Legislative Tracker.

Topics currently at some stage in the legislative docket include:

  • Oil and gas: Along with RMC's lobbyists, members of LegCom met with committed environmentalist Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll in early February. She told us that legislators had 15-20 oil and gas bills waiting in the wings that would begin dropping once The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's (COGCC) rulemaking was completed on February 11 (see the COGCC website and the "new and improved" drilling setback rules for specific information) . RMC's Oil and Gas Team had drawn up a "wish list" of issues RMC would like to see included in these bills, which LegCom presented to Sen. Carroll.  Many of these items legislators are already considering and the rest she thought could be incorporated.

    We'll keep you informed of future progress, as well as on RMC's proposed bill to close COGCC's "setback loophole". Current COGCC rules allow the oil and gas industry to re-enter/redrill wells that are closer to residential structures than the setback required for new well bores.
  • Renewable Thermal Standard (RTS):  Colorado incentivizes renewable electricity generation and conservation of electricity and thermal energy, but not renewable thermal production, says Sen. Schwartz's ad hoc Energy Group. RMC has been working with this group to draft a bill to develop a Colorado RTS; if this passes, it will be the first in the nation. A final draft of the bill is in the works; we will keep you informed of its status.

Remember that as a citizen you can contact your legislators regarding concerns you may have on any bill, but if you wish to speak for the Sierra Club, you have to work through the Legislative Committee so that the Club speaks with one voice, thus maintaining its professional standing among members of the Capitol.

Last month I sent out a request for volunteers and several responded – thanks so much! We can still use volunteers who are willing to assist in alerting our members to contact their elected officials to promote or kill a bill. Contact me at if you are interested in helping. 

To learn more about how the legislative process works and its significance to Colorado's natural environment, sign up for the joint Sierra Club/Audubon Society Legislative Forum to be held March 2 (RSVP today, or read about it in the sidebar "must see event"). Remember – if you're not at the table, you're on the table!

Work begins on new Denver Metro Network
By Kathleen Butler
Denver Metro Network Coordinator
In January, Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) members in the Denver Metro area met to talk about getting organized for Sierra Club work in the area. The purpose of the group is to take actions on conservation issues relevant to this local geographic area, as well as other activities, including hiking and social get-togethers.

RMC Director Joshua Ruschhaupt reported that Sierra Club has a new structure available to locally-organized bodies.  Instead of a "Group," which has a higher level of administrative labor, the RMC Executive Committee (ExCom) and members present at recent meetings have decided to go with a new structure recently designed by the national Sierra Club, called a "Network."  A Network is designed differently to be less of an administrative burden on the volunteer leaders.


RMC Executive Committee announces 2013 officers

By Myrna Poticha
RMC ExCom Co-Chair
The Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) Executive Committee (ExCom) announces its newly elected officers for 2013. They are: Dave Bryan and Myrna Poticha, co-chairs; Betsy Kelson, vice-chair; and Alison Gallensky, secretary. There is still one vacancy for co-chair since I (Myrna) am stepping down shortly.
The board extends a warm "thank you" to Will Walters for his hard work and vast organizational skills as the 2012 co-chair.
Chairs and vice-chairs ensure that the ExCom meets and deals with its nationally-designated responsibilities to ensure the health and effectiveness of the Sierra Club in Colorado. The committee also meets the provisions of the state bylaws, which are the points of communication and support for the RMC director, the groups, the press, and the general public.


Energy graphic
By Jim Anderson

Energy activists urged to fight Xcel's proposed rate increases

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Denver, CO-The Energy Consumer Empowerment Workshop, held January 26, offered an excellent opportunity to learn more about Xcel Energy's proposed Electric Commodities Adjustment (ECA) power rate increase and how individuals, organizations and state legislators can rally to fight against it and other future increases.

Presenters at the event also reminded and encouraged attendees to push policy makers and energy companies for more renewable energy options in Colorado that will lower energy costs and produce sustainable jobs.


Colorado oil and gas roundup
By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil and Gas Campaign
Communications Specialist

The landscape has shifted in recent weeks in the fight to defend Colorado from the expansion of harmful drilling and fracking practices.  While this article includes hyperlinks to some the latest news about oil and gas issues around Colorado, we urge you to follow the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter Facebook page regularly to keep track of stories as they unfold and to post other pertinent articles or information you may find.

Talk About Fracking - convio.jpg

We are happy to announce that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently opted to defer leasing plans for the North Fork Valley, areas adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument, and parts of southwest Colorado.  The BLM also decided to re-evaluate drilling plans for the top of the Roan Plateau. The leasing deferrals may only be temporary, but they offer a ray of hope as destructive drilling and fracking continue to storm across Colorado, both on public lands and in local communities.


RMC volunteer fundraises to "delight, inspire and ignite"

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Dave Read Deer Creek
Dave Read
Fundraising Committee Chair
Every organization has to find a way to bring in money to meet its goals. Not everyone, however, can or wants to face or lead the myriad challenges of raising money, not even for a cause near and dear to one's heart. One of those special people in the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) who enjoys facing this type of challenge is Dave Read, our hard-working and dedicated Fundraising Chair.

"In keeping with the Sierra Club motto to enjoy, explore and protect the environment, it is clear that what we need are solid opportunities to come together to have fun and share our common interest," Dave, a West Centennial resident who joined Sierra Club in late 2011, says. "To do that, I am mostly focused on fundraising events that delight, inspire and ignite that which drew us to Sierra in the first place."

Read more...   

Groundhog Day 2113 
View larger version...

Facebook Photo Contest

To submit your entry for the next Facebook Photo Contest, please visit us at

Julie Magers Soulen2

Congratulations to Julie Magers Soulen! She is the winner of our January "Winter Wonderland" themed Facebook Photo Contest!

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!

Denver Metro Network Leaders

The Denver metro area has the highest density of Sierra Club members in the state, and we're very excited to be working on getting it organized.  If you're interested in helping out with that effort, just send a quick note to Kathleen Butler at:

RMC Roaring Fork Group Leaders

The Roaring Fork Group is looking for new and energetic leaders to volunteer to help out with fighting oil & gas drilling proposals on the Thompson Divide, west of Carbondale, and south of Glenwood Springs.  You should live within the Roaring Fork Group boundary: Pitkin County, Eagle County in the Roaring Fork Valley or Fryingpan Valley, or eastern Garfield County.  They're also looking for volunteer leaders interested in helping lead the Group itself.  Get in touch with Maggie Pedersen, RFG Chair, at

Continue reading the list of available volunteer opportunities...

In this issue:
  • Director's Message
  • Colorado legislative update
  • Denver Metro Network
  • Executive Committee officers named
  • Energy activists urged to fight rate increases
  • Oil and gas roundup
  • Featured Volunteer: Dave Read
  • "True" Tales of Eco-Disaster Comic
  • Facebook photo contest
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Meetup
    • Twitter
    • 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.

Here's a testimonial 
from Robert Eidsmoe,

40-year giver to
Sierra Club! 

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Go Solar!

Sierra Club Solar Homes 2013

If you are the proud owner of a single-family home, and you want to reduce your climate impact, you can install a solar system on your roof!  

Sierra Club RMC parters with Sungevity to employ local, certified solar installers when you want to make a difference for the planet right from your own home.  

Get your free
solar iQuote now!

Sungevity supports Sierra Club with a great contribution with the completion of every installation we refer to them.  

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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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Be Social!

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 advocacy events. We're on Twitter, too!

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Must-See Event:
Legislative Forum to feature Colorado's hot legislative issues for 2013

Colorado Capitol

WHO: Co-sponsored by Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter and the Audubon Society of Greater Denver.

Sierra Club lobbyist Chuck Malick and Audubon Colorado lobbyist Jen Boulton will review the session's environmental bills. The event will also feature legislators and experts on various topic areas being addressed in the 2013 legislative session.

WHEN: Saturday, March 2, 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

First Plymouth Congregational Church
3501 South Colorado Blvd.
Englewood, CO 80113

WHY: This is a great opportunity to meet like-minded folks, legislators and lobbyists, and become involved the legislative process.
RSVP today! 

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Featured Outings

Arkansas Canyonlands Wild Winter Day Hike

Cañon City area

Saturday, February 23
7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Hike a scenic slot canyon (without driving all the way to Utah) in the McIntyre Hills Proposed Wilderness. Learn about the history, wilderness possibilities and environmental threats for the area and the region.

This moderate, off-trail hike, approximately 5 miles with 600 feet elevation gain, is co-sponsored by Pikes Peak Sierra Club, Wild Connections, and Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition. Some easy rock scrambling is involved.

For more information and to register, contact John Stansfield (303-660-5849) by 6:00 p.m., February 22.

Full Moon Snowshoe 

Brainard Lake Recreation Area

Monday, February 25

Join the Indian Peaks Group for this classic winter hike on the trails and road in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area. About a 5 miles or less hike with 200ft of elevation gain/ loss, This is an easy, 5 mile hike with great views of the moon and wonderful trail options.

It can be very windy here so please come prepared for harsh winter conditions. If it is windy we tend to stay more in the trees on the trails instead of on the road.

Bring warm clothing, a hat, gloves, water, snacks, snowshoes, and a headlamp (with a red light if possible).

Sign up on Meetup!

Contact Mike Whiteley (303-776-7396) for more information.


Attention Gay and Lesbian (GLS) Sierrans!

Best of Banff Mountain Film Festival


Tuesday, February 26

GLS goes to the movies at the historic Boulder Theater! Join your fellow outdoors enthusiasts for the best short films from the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival!

There are always plenty of adrenaline-rushing scenes of extreme gonzo climbers, kayakers, and skiers. Mixed in with them are short films of drama, comedy, and environmentalism.

We'll meet for an optional dinner before the show. This event sells out quickly.

Cost is $19.50 at the Boulder Theater box office, or $15.00 at REI.

Contact Phil to sign up. Please provide a contact phone number.

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 or without functional screens and at minimum Windows 2003 as an operating system, XP preferred.

-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  

Be sure to get in touch with the Communications Team if you are a RMC volunteer interested in being featured in an article -- we want to let others know the great work you're doing and who you are!

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Enter the photo contest!

Did you know that we have a monthly photo contest? The theme for the February contest is "Outdoor Adventures."  Submit your best water photo today!  Winner gets a free 2013 Sierra Club photo calendar!  Submit your photo now, and tell your friends to LIKE it!

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

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