Sierra Club
Having trouble receiving our email? Try adding us ( to your Address Book.

View a web version of this email.

Peak and Prairie E-newsletter

Newsletter of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter

June 2013

Electronic Edition

Go Solar with the Sierra Club

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

"Go climb a rock!"

Mike Brune (R), and group explore Browns Canyon

Mike Brune and daughter (far
Right) and group listen to Bill 
Dvorak (far left) talk about
Browns Canyon (background). 

From my childhood in Yosemite, I have "go climb a rock" seared into my brain from the motto of the Yosemite Mountaineering School.  So, when I'm not skiing (A-Basin closed last weekend), I go climb, or hike, rather, a rock.  On occasion, I have the opportunity to do so for my Sierra Club work!

On Thursday, June 13th, I traveled to meet our Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune and his family while they stopped near Buena Vista, CO to hike into Browns Canyon.  This area is home to Colorado's highest density of Mountain Lions, I learned, though we didn't see any.  And if you know puma habitat, you can see why the catamount loves this territory!  The geology, ecology, and remoteness, are perfect for cougars.  

We had a great time with several Club and local leaders present to learn about the area, including Nick Watson from Veterans Expeditions, and Bill Dvorak from Dvorak Expeditions.  Bill even took several of us on a raft trip through Browns Canyon, with expert guides, who gave us a first-hand experience and view of how wild the canyon really is.  Bill is a long-time local conservation advocate and businessman who strongly supports protecting this area.  Sierra Club is working hard to protect this landscape as one of America's newest National Monuments.

The Club's new Our Wild America campaign is launching with Mike Brune's classic American family road trip through the beautiful southwest.  In Colorado, he stopped in Rifle to tour the Roan Plateau (see, Sierra Club Exec Mike Brune Visits Colorado to see Devastations of Fracking Firsthand, below), where we're fighting battles in the courts to protect, as well as to listen to some local stories about the problems the oil & gas industry creates.

On Monday, June 17th, Mike and family will meet with local Sierra Club members to hike around Chimney Rock National Monument, one of Sierra Club's victories in Colorado.  I'll be there and staying over on Tuesday to talk with local members to explore how we can re-start our Weminuche Group.  Send me an email if you're in San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, San Juan, La Plata, Hinsdale, Meneral, or Archuleta Counties and interested in becoming a volunteer to explore, enjoy, and protect Southwest Colorado!

My gratitude goes out to John Stansfield (who couldn't attend at Browns Canyon due to the Black Forest fire - all our best, John!), Jim Lockhart, Neshama Abraham, Mark Stevens, Tom Rutledge, Lauren Swain, and anyone else I missed who volunteered their time to organize these first two Colorado stops on Mike's tour.  Thanks also to the help of Drew Ball and other national staff who are organizing this campaign launch trip.

Boulder reconsiders drilling moratorium
A quick note to recognize the hard work that the RMC Oil & Gas Team and the Indian Peaks Group are doing to convince the Boulder County Commissioners to extend their drilling moratorium for at least a year:  keep up the great work!  They're really making a difference with their persistence and your support.  You can help them by taking action and sending your comments to the commissioners.  Read the Oil & gas roundup story below for details and direct email addresses to send your comments.

Thank you for all you do!

Joshua Ruschhaupt, Rocky Mountain Chapter Director

Oil and gas roundup

By Lauren Swain
RMC Oil and Gas Campaign Team Chair

Oil & Gas Roundup

Take Action 

New RMC Oil & Gas Campaign
The Rocky Mountain Chapter has recently reorganized our Oil & Gas Campaign to address the expanding threat of destructive oil and gas drilling and toxic fracking practices into communities and natural areas across Colorado. We have a fantastic new team and are gearing up to send a powerful message to local, state, and federal officials insisting that Colorado communities and ecosystems be protected from the flagrant harm being caused by oil and gas production throughout our state. Our Governor and state agencies must be held accountable for allowing operators to continue polluting air, rivers, and groundwater without penalty.


Sierra Club Exec Mike Brune Visits Colorado to see Devastations of Fracking Firsthand

Brune visits Rifle, CO

Mike Brune (L, with son) visits with 
Rifle, CO area residents and RMC
volunteers on June 12th. 

On Wednesday, June 12, Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director, visited the Western Slope of Colorado to see first hand the devasting effects caused by hydraulic fracturing on the environment and citizens of Colorado. The visit was organized by the Club's new Our Wild America campaign, the Rocky Mountain Chapter (RMC) Oil and Gas Team, and the RMC Roaring Fork Group. Brune's tour stops included a flight over the Roan Plateau, offered by Eco Flight, and stories of some residents of Rifle, Colorado, who came to speak with Michael to tell their story of lost health, deformed animals, and accidents from fracking trucks on the road. Local media, such as the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (action required to read), and the Grand Junction Sentinel (subscription required) also attended.

Special thanks to Oil & Gas Team event organizers Mark Stevens and Tom Rutledge of the Roaring Fork Group, and Neshama Abraham of the Indian Peaks Group.  Mark and Neshama are also on the RMC Oil & Gas Team.

Pikes Peak Group to offer new hiking opportunities

By Jim Lockhart
RMC Communications Team

Pikes Peak Hiking Outting

The Pikes Peak Group (PPG) in Colorado Springs is planning three new types of outings in 2013: Sierra Club Rambles, Local Favorites Hikes and Wilderness Anniversary Hikes.


Denver Metro Network offers opportunities for environmental action 

By James Luidl
Denver Metro Network Team

DMN Volunteers

Denver Metro Network volunteers
share organizing plans. From left,
Joshua Ruschhaupt, RMC director;
Deb Olsen, DMN volunteer; Mathew
Elsner, DMN volunteer; Cheyne
Cumming, DMN volunteer; Myrna
Poticha, RMC ExCom member; and
Dave Bryan, RMC ExCom chair.

“While the frontier as a statistically measured artifact of the Census Bureau, might have ended, wildness did not end with the frontier. And what it was to be an American was to respect and cherish wildness.”

Former Sierra Club Director Carl Pope used these words to describe the life and work of iconic outdoor photographer Ansel Adams. The spirit Pope refers to doesn't just apply to the Sierra Nevada where Adams spent so much of his life. It's also alive and well now in America's cities. In that spirit, the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter is forming a new Denver Metro Network (DMN).


Climate Change Festival focuses on global warming 
Sierra Club raises awareness of in-state issues

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Climate Change Festival June 2013

Bryce Carter, Sierra Club Beyond 
Coal Campaign representative, 
and JoLynn Jarboe, RMC volunteer, 
staff a table at the Colorado Climate 
Change Festival.

Glaciers are melting, storms are more frequent and destructive, winters are warmer and wildfires are increasing in number and severity. To learn more about why these and other natural disasters are happening at an increasing rate—and what can be done about it—about 800 activists and interested others gathered at Denver’s Civic Center Park for May’s Colorado Climate Change Festival: Uniting Against Climate Change.


Featured Volunteer: Eric Rechel

By Carol Carpenter
RMC Communications Team

Eric Rechel

Eric Rechel

Eric Rechel has a big, warm heart for wild animals. From mice and prairie dogs to elk, deer and raptors, he has been volunteering tirelessly for years to help ensure they have a safe and natural place to live.

Right now Eric, a Sierra Club Uncompahgre Group (UG) co-chair and Oil and Gas Committee member, and his fellow UG members are fighting to close roads in public wilderness areas in western Colorado. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) road closures would improve habitat for countless wild animal and bird populations. (See “Uncompahgre Group supports road closings in western Colorado” in May 2013 Peak and Prairie.)


Step Strong Hike a Thon

Step Strong Colorado—A benefit to protect the environment 

By David Read
RMC Fundraising Chair

Hike and have fun – for a purpose – at this year's premier fundraising event to promote and protect Colorado's environment, including its remaining wilderness areas and outdoors recreation spaces.

Step Strong Colorado!  A Benefit Hike to Protect the Environment, will be Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013, at Roxborough State Park.

Choose a hike from four different trails, with varying experience levels from easy to challenging; or, tailor your hiking to incorporate one or more or all trails to enjoy your day your way.

There will be free parking, complimentary food and prizes to compete for. So what are you waiting for?

If you are not a hiker or are unable to make the trek to Roxborough, that is not problem. You can be a virtual hiker and hike with us in spirit, perhaps even on a trail wherever you may be.

Whether you join us at the park or in your heart, thank you so much for your support and all you do for the environment.

"True" Tales of Eco-Disaster presents Frackenstein
View larger version...


Facebook Photo Contest

May Facebook Photo Contest Winner

Mountain Crocus in Pine, CO.  Photo by Luke Houser

Congratulations to Luke Houser! He is the winner of our May "Spring" Facebook Photo Contest.  

Enter our Facebook photo contest!

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

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!

Outings Leaders
Colorado is a hiker's mecca. We're looking for a few more core-team leaders, and several outings leaders.  Have you ever wanted to lead your own fun or conservation-minded hikes?  Sierra Club is known for great outings with trained volunteer leaders. Let us train you to be one of them!  We're really excited to get our outings program working directly on conservation issues, too! Contact Joshua Ruschhaupt, at

Denver Metro Network Leaders and Activists
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.  The new Leadership Team has recently been appointed, and could use your input!  If you're interested in helping out with that effort, just send a quick note to the Leadership Team Chair, Mathew Elsner, at

RMC Weminuche Group Leaders
The Weminuche Group is currently not a running group, due to a lack of volunteer Executive Committee leaders, and the Rocky Mountain Chapter knows there are many Sierra Club members and supporters in the region who care deeply about exploring, enjoying, and protecting Southwest Colorado.  We're looking for new and energetic leaders to volunteer to become outings leaders, fight the oil & gas industry, advocate for healthy public lands, and more! You should live within the Weminuche Group boundary: San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, San Juan, La Plata, Hinsdale, Mineral, or Archuleta Counties.  Get in touch with Joshua Ruschhaupt, at

Continue reading the list of available volunteer opportunities...

In this issue:

  • Director's Message
  • Oil & gas roundup
  • Sierra Club Exec Mike Brune Visits Colorado to see Devastations of Fracking Firsthand
  • Pikes Peak Group to offer new hiking opportunities
  • Denver Metro Network offers opportunities for environmental action 
  • Climate Change Festival focuses on global warming
  • Featured Volunteer: Eric Rechel
  • Step Strong Colorado—A benefit to protect the environment
  • Cartoon: Frackenstein, Episode 2
  • Facebook photo contest
  • Volunteer Leadership Openings
  • Sidebar:
    • Donate!
    • Go Solar!
    • P&P Archive
    • Be a member!
    • Facebook
    • Meetup
    • Twitter
    • Must-See Event
    • Featured Outings
    • Wish List
    • Story Idea? 

Newsletter Line

Donate online!

Support your Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter.

We depend on your support to do all of our work! 

Contribute on our secure website today.

Newsletter Line

Go Solar!

Sierra Club Solar Homes 2013

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

Sierra Club RMC parters with Sungevity to employ local, certified solar installers. 

Get your free
solar iQuote now!

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

Newsletter Line

Peak and Prairie

The Peak and Prairie is the official Chapter newsletter.

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

Newsletter Line


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

Newsletter Line

Join the Sierra Club

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

Newsletter Line

Be Social!

Like us on Facebook now!

Follow us on Facebook to get our latest updates and relevant news, or on Meetup to join our latest activities, activism, and advocacy events. We're on Twitter, too!

Newsletter Line
Must-See Event:

   Home Tour and
Energy Workshop in
Park Hill

Denver Energy Challenge

WHO: Due to limited space, this workshop and home tour is only open to home owners or renters in the City/County of Denver who are considering energy upgrades for their home.

 What better way to learn about energy efficiency measures for your home than by touring one that has completed them! Come hear from experts at the City's Denver Energy Challenge on energy saving measures for your home and see what tools are used to assess a home's efficiency. Not only will you receive information that is applicable to your home, you will get to tour one that has made energy improvements that work.  RSVP required.  When you're done with the tour, check out how you can lease or buy solar for your own home with Sierra Club Solar Homes! (Sierra Club Solar Homes is in no way affiliated with Denver Energy Challenge.)

 Saturday, June 22, 2013 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

WHERE: Park Hill Home2211 Glencoe Street, Denver, CO 80207 (map

QUESTIONS: Julie Carlton, phone: 720-865-5430


Newsletter Line

Featured Outings

Happy Hour in the
Hills - Reynolds Park

Reynolds Park, 14070 Foxton Road, Conifer, CO (map)

Friday, June 21, 2013
5:30 PM to 9:00 PM

What better way to celebrate summer than by spending your Friday evenings hiking the foothills instead of being stuck in some bar? We'll spend each Friday (June-July) out in the foothills on short hikes that average around 5 miles round-trip. This hike is just under 5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 800 feet.  This hike is rated easy to moderate and will have several stops so that we can chat and get to know one another because it IS happy hour after all!

For more information and to register, contact Colleen Finnerty at 303-388-1058 by 10am June 20th.


Georgia Pass Hike

Jefferson, CO

Saturday, June 29th, 2013
7am to early evening

GLS goes into the high country for this hike along a beautiful segment of the Colorado Trail (CT), where the CT passes above tree line for the first time (traveling east to west) as it approaches Georgia Pass on the Continental Divide. Our hike starts at Jefferson Creek and climbs steadily through forest and across tundra to 11,900 feet just east of the pass. We will enjoy great views of South Park, the Tenmile Range, and Mt. Guyot looming above us to the west.

This is an advanced hike at 12 miles round trip and 2100 feet cumulative elevation gain. The actual walking time, i.e., excluding lunch and a few brief stops, will be at least five hours at a moderate pace. This outing is intended for those in good physical condition who have done substantial hikes recently. The trail is generally not steep, but the length and elevation gain require endurance.

Bring two liters of water, snack & lunch, rain gear, warm layer, sun protection, and comfortable well-broken-in boots (see "ten essentials," below). We will leave the meeting place at 7:00am, and be back in early evening, including an après-hike dinner in Bailey. There is a $6-per-car parking fee to be shared.

For more information and to register, please contact Kate.  You must provide your telephone number for registration. 

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.


Newsletter Line

Wish List!

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!

Newsletter Line

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!


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

Update My Profile | Manage My Email Preferences | Update My Interests | Unsubscribe

Header Photo Credit: Communications Team volunteer Bill Bruner.