Peak & Prairie

Rocky Mountain Chapter's
Online Newsletter
August / September 1998


Grassroot Sierrans in Action!
by Michael C. Gizzi, Grassroots Editor

This issue marks the beginning of the new and improved grassroots section. In addition to the volunteer opportunity listings, Grassroots will now feature Activism Reports from the field. Sierra Club activists are doing all sorts of exciting work on behalf of the environment throughout Colorado. Activism Reports provide a forum to share information about group, committee, and chapter activities. If you are a group or chapter committee chair, and did not submit a report for this issue, please consider submitting a brief update on your group or committee's activities for the next issue to Michael Gizzi at, call me at (970) 248-1763 or fax information to me at (970) 248-1934, Attention: Michael Gizzi. All you need to do is submit a brief paragraph of what your group/committee has been up to in the past two months. This way, all Club members can get a better perspective on the varied activities of our chapter statewide. There are two areas where there really is a particular need for assistance. First, the annual retreat coordinator, Melanie Guerra, (303) 715-1838, can use lots of assistance with this September's annual retreat. Melanie needs volunteers to serve on the retreat committee and would welcome any input from former members. The Retreat is only a few month's away, and much work remains to be done.

Second, the Uncompahgre Group would like to make a call to all Wilderness Advocates to come to Grand Junction on June 5th and 6th for Senator Allard 's Wilderness Hearings. The environmental community wants to make a strong showing at the event. Full details are in the group's activism report below.

Activism Reports from the Field

Enos Mills Group (Denver)
In April, group members participated in Earth Day events on the Auraria campus. In May, the group continued its Adopt-A-Trail work by doing a Cherry Creek clean-up. The Group is working on agriculture, church/environmental, and trade-related issues. Finally, the Group is working with the South Platte Group trying to stop the development next to the Chatfield Arboretum. Contact Jan at (303) 320-4895 to offer help or for more info.

Indian Peaks Group (Boulder area)
The Indian Peaks Group had a very successful Annual Dinner in March with 120 participants and a good speaker--Dave Wegner of the Glen Canyon Institute and "draining Lake Powell" fame. Dave is available to other Groups for their programs for the cost of an airfare. Urban land use issues have been important in the IPG in the last few months in the form of possible new open space purchases, redevelopment of a local shopping center to attract more sales tax income (for open space among other things), and ballot initiatives to raise impact fees and regulate city campaign contributions. Regarding wilderness for the James Peak Roadless Area, the group is trying to get more endorsements (including the Republican Gilpin County Commission, with success). The group is also trying to engage other recreation groups, especially mountain bikers, in discussions about wilderness use. Contact Linda at (303) 494-6407 to offer help or for more info.

Mount Evans Group (Conifer area)
Regarding the paving of Guanella Pass, the Mount Evans Group has submitted an alternative to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) plan to pave, widen, and reroute this wilderness boundary road linking Georgetown and Grant. The Group proposal calls for some repairs and improvements, but no new paving, widening or rerouting. They requested that this be the fifth alternative in the forthcoming DEIS. The MEG has prepared a video on the issue, highlighting their proposal; it is available to anyone interested. They have been unable to find out if the FHWA is giving them any consideration in the preparation of the DEIS.

Regarding the South Park water grab by Aurora, the MEG filed in Water Court, along with a local citizens' group, to stop Aurora and Sportsmen's Ranch from shipping South Park alluvial water to feed Aurora sprawl. There are three cases; one has been heard and ruled in the MEG's favor, and the others are pending. Regarding development of JeffCo Open Space on the Flying J and De La Castro properties in Conifer, the MEG has joined a large group of outraged citizens to oppose construction of athletic fields on them. Because of the outcry, Flying J now has a five-year development moratorium in the recently executed purchase agreement. Both properties have valuable wetlands and meadows. The MEG will monitor the master planning for the properties to insure that JeffCo remains aware of our concerns. Contact Lyn at (303) 838-8117 to offer help or for more info.

Pikes Peak Group (Colorado Springs area)
The Pikes Peak Group has four recent or ongoing major activities: 1) Pikes Peak Road litigation (they have filed a suit under section 401 of the Clean Water Act and are trying to raise the needed funds for the litigation), 2) supporting a fee increase for use of the Pikes Peak Rd. (but there is some question about what the money would be used for), and 3) helping to fund a workshop in Victor regarding the Victor Gold Mine with an EPIC grant ($3000), and 4) submitting application for the Stewardship Trust for six State School Trust Lands parcels. Contact Rick at (719) 687-1004 to offer help or for more info.

Poudre Canyon Group (Fort Collins area)
The Poudre Canyon Group is very busy on a number of fronts. Two appeals have been submitted by the Group on the Arapahoe-Roosevelt final management plan, regarding deficiencies in the travel management portion. The Group is fighting a proposed large development south of Fort Collins, with some success in protecting a buffer zone with wildlife values. PCG reps attended the SW Office's leadership training in April. The PCG area had a national new member canvas. The Group sponsored some public meetings on growth management and forest fragmentation, and did a good job raising money in the March Appeal. They participated in a big Earth Day festival, in cooperation with the EVEC campaign. They will use a CSU intern to help do part of their issues work. In the future they will sponsor a tour of the A-R National Forest to view some of their management actions. The Preble Meadow Jumping Mouse is also the subject of regional meetings which have attracted a lot of property rights activists. A proposed Wal-Mart store is the subject of a PCG campaign. A Roberts Ranch limestone mine will also be a target of activism. The Group is going for an EVEC grant for a cost-of-growth study. They are starting a Voluntary Simplicity Program with Mary Romano's help. The Larimer County Commissioner's race will be an important one this fall, as well as a right-to-farm issue. Contact Will at (970) 568-9841 to offer help or for more info.

Rachel Carson Group (Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Golden)
The Rachel Carson Group executive-committee met April 1 and elected Bill Kossack and Roger Davenport as the group co-chairs, and Hildegard Hix as a co-membership chair. The group is working with Brian Mohr (of the South West Regional Office) to facilitate a process whereby the Group will identify a couple of issues to work on this year which will hopefully encourage other members to become more active. A general meeting is scheduled for the end of May. Possible issues include the Front Range Mountain Backdrop, Jefferson Center, Rocky Flats, Table Mountain, and growth issues in general. Contact Roger at (303) 278-2926 to offer help or for more info.

The Sangre de Cristo Group (Pueblo area)
The Sangre de Cristo Group is involved in several activities, including chemical weapons, Rails to Trails, and military fly-overs. In addition, Alan Urban is generating a day-a-month talk show which has got some responses. Donna Murphy is sitting on the BLM RAC, which now is working on recreational guidelines. The Group could use some new activists to help out. Contact Alan at (719) 783-9755 to offer help or for more info.

South Platte Group (Littleton)
The South Platte Group has had recent activity on the proposed Chatfield Green development and on the Union Park Project. A new activity is a well field that a water developer wants to put in adjacent to South Platte River Park that might affect the local riparian ecosystem; the well field would be used to supply Highlands Ranch. Contact Charlie at (303) 798-3236 to offer help or for more info.

Uncompahgre Group (Grand Junction area)
The Uncompahgre Group has had a particularly active spring. The focus of most of the Group's activity has been on the BLM Wilderness Review. Uncompahgre Group is an active member of the Mesa County Wilderness Coalition (with Grand Valley Audubon, Western Colorado Congress, and Colorado Environmental Coalition). The Coalition is sponsoring a <Wilderness Weekend> in Grand Junction on June 5th and 6th to coincide with Senator Allard's BLM Wilderness Hearings on Saturday, June 6th. There will be a John Fielder Slide Show on June 5th, followed by a BBQ dinner and dance. The hearing will be followed by a Wilderness Rally outside the Avalon Theatre on the 6th, at 11:15 am. ALL Wilderness advocates are encouraged to come to Grand Junction for the slide show, hearings, and rally. It is important that a message is sent to Senator Allard that Coloradans support BLM Wilderness! Contact Vicki for more information at (970) 464-0502.

In addition to wilderness activism, the Uncompahgre Group has been involved in several issues related to public lands, including the Grand Mesa Uncompahgre Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest Plan, the Ute Water District Pipeline Expansion, and the Collbran Water Transfer Project. In February, the Group sponsored a meeting with State Senator Tillman Bishop, Representative Matt Smith, and Representative Gayle Berry to discuss environmental issues before the legislature. Over 80 environmentalists turned out for the meeting which focused on the Senate Hog Farm bill, the Joint Resolution on Wilderness, and the Local Growth Assistance bill.

Finally, the Uncompahgre Group has a new web site which focuses on group activities, and provides a home page for the Mesa County Wilderness Coalition. It can be viewed at  

Weminuche Group (Durango area)
On the Animas LaPlata (ALP) front the Group is fighting ALP-Lite. Meanwhile the South West Colorado Water District is hiring high-priced lobbyists to fight for the project (which will require amending current laws, including the Clean Water Act). ALP-Lite issues are M&I water, too-little cost sharing, economic efficiency, violations of law by the local water district and the Settlement Act. The Group has, in conjunction with other organizations, been hiring a lobbyist for a lot of money in Washington to fight ALP-Lite. However, the Sierra Club lobbying office is currently not working on the ALP-Lite bills because of limitations of budget. Contact Jim Decker at (970) 247-8811 to offer help or for more info.

Volunteer Opportunities

Drivers Needed!
The Sierra Student Coalition needs help transporting students to and from DIA on July 13th and 18th. Individuals with a van or station wagon are needed. Gas expenses will be reimbursed, and you'll get a free dinner for helping out! Contact Audra Ransburg at (317) 293-0657 or

Inner City Outings
Volunteer trip leaders needed. ICO takes disadvantaged youth from the city into the wilderness and provides some environmental education. Some of these kids may grow up to be conservationists. ICO also needs someone to lay out a one-page newsletter for the kids four times a year. Call Kathryn Sharpe at (303) 512-89331 or Kurt Aronow at (303) 661-9307.

Toxics & Forest Volunteers
The chapter conservation committee needs people with a strong and enduring interest in toxic substances and National Forest management issues to be resource persons and/or participate on a volunteer committee. Toxics and National Forest issues have become particularly complex, but they also have aspects that any lay person can appreciate. For example, everyone understands that living downwind from a chemical plant may pose a health hazard, and most people resonate, from a purely esthetic point of view, with the values of a healthy forest.

A committee person should have some grasp of the complexities of the issue area and a strong desire to learn more, but an equal or greater desire to educate the Club membership and the public and help empower people to influence government or private decisions. To discuss either position, contact Chapter Conservation Chair Kirk Cunningham at (303) 939-8519 or at

Help Fight Toxic Medical Waste Incinerators!
Sierra Club is working to reduce the amount of toxic pollution that spews out from the medical waste incinerators. We have challenged the EPA's recently released, inadequate regulations to reduce the toxic pollution from the medical waste incinerators, and we need your help to show the court that Sierra Club members are directly affected.

If you live close to a medical waste incinerator (within 25 miles, although closer residents will have greater impact), we hope that you will help us in this lawsuit by providing a supporting declaration (a type of affidavit). Providing this declaration will not make you liable in any way for the cost of litigation, and will not make it necessary for you to come to court. If you have been affected by medical waster incineration and would be willing to help with this lawsuit, or if you have any questions, please contact Jim Pew at (202) 667-4500 or at

Wildlife Committee
If animals are your thing, consider working with Sierra Club's wildlife committee. There are a wide variety of wildlife issues around the state that would benefit from your involvement. Just fill out the coupon at the end of this section or call Karen Wharton at (303) 642-3117.

Population Partisans
One area of our planet that is not overpopulated is the population committee. A big part of what they do is public education. Whatever your cause, it's a lost cause without population control. To find out how you can help, mail in the coupon at the end of this section or call Fred Elbel at (303) 220-7499.

Outings Organizers
If you love hikes, socializing and organizing, please consider working with the outings program. You can organize hikes on the local or state level, from simple afternoon hikes around town to lengthy overnights out-of-state. We especially need help at the state level. If you are interested in learning more, just fill out the coupon or call Diane Neumann (303) 904-9701, email

Colorado Wilderness
There is potential wilderness in your area: 1 million acres of BLM wildlands from Vermillion Basin to Grape Creek and forest lands from Troublesome to Red Cloud need your help. BLM wilderness reviews and Congressional bills are happening right now. This summer will be active with opportunities for field trips, mapping, slide shows, letter writing, research on wilderness qualities and political organizing. Contact Mark Pearson at (970) 259-6181, email or Jean Smith at (303) 388-3378, email

Computer Compatriots
The computer committee needs help refurbishing and lending its many donated computers (obsolescent but not obsolete). To help, just fill out the coupon or call Diane Neumann (303) 904-9701, email

Legal Eagles
If you read the paper or listen to the news, you probably know that the Sierra Club frequently uses the legal system to protect the environment. No matter what part of the state you are in, if you have any legal skills, you can help out. Whether you're an attorney, a typist, a court reporter or an activist with special knowledge about a legal / environmental issue, we can use your help. To get involved in this essential area, just mail in the coupon, or to find out more contact Shari Ulery (303) 221-4240.

Open Space Organizers
Bluff Lake Natural Area, a 123-acre wildlife preserve located on the former Stapleton Airport, was created by a legal settlement initiated by Sierra Club members. Friends of Bluff Lake, a nonprofit organization seeking to foster lifelong learning and proper stewardship at Bluff Lake, is seeking volunteer nature guides and ambassadors. Nature guides lead elementary school children's activities during the week; ambassadors interact with the public on weekends. Training is provided. Bluff Lake is currently open 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm. For more information, contact Delana Friedrich, (303) 764-3643.

Energy Activists
The chapter energy committee seeks volunteers. The committee focuses on energy conservation, alternative sources of energy and the environmental impact of energy, including electricity production, home and business use and transportation. To get involved, call Linda Berti, our Energy Chair at (303) 220-7499 or fill out the coupon.

Farm Fanatics
The agriculture committee has a wide range of concerns and needs a wide range of volunteers. Everyone from farmers to consumers are invited to participate. Members from the Poudre Canyon Group are especially needed! You don't have to know about every issue or participate in every event. To find out more, fill out the coupon or call John Wade at (303) 762-0537.

Backdrop Boosters
The Front Range Mountain Backdrop Project is a five-county cooperative effort to identify critical parcels of land along the Front Range foothills for future open space preservation. Volunteer action groups are forming in Boulder, Larimer, Jefferson, El Paso and Douglas counties. You can become involved in preserving our metropolitan vistas by filling out the coupon or call Sherri Valentine at (303) 670-4883.

Mining Monitors
The mining committee focuses on new mining proposals, proposed changes in state regulations by the Mined Land Reclamation Board, pollution from existing and abandoned mines and federal mining law reform. We need volunteers from around the state to watchdog mines for compliance with federal and state laws and to visit BLM and Forest Service offices to get information on new mining proposals. Volunteers will also help spearhead efforts to reform the federal Mining Law of 1872 by educating activists on the status of reform legislation. Just use the clip-out coupon or call Jeff Berman (303) 546-6523.

Pesticide Pessimists
The pesticides committee provides information and assistance in dealing with the unintended toxic consequences of the battle of the bugs. To become involved with the committee's work, talk with our Pesticide Chair Angela Medbery at (303) 433-2608 or mail in the coupon.

Lifestyle Committee
The lifestyle / education committee focuses on the individual's ability to create lifestyle changes that support a sustainable and environmentally sound future. The committee is working hard to show people how easy it is to make changes that benefit the health of the planet. To learn more about how you can become involved with the committee's work, or to find out more about the next meeting call committee Chair Jan Oen at (303) 320-4895 or fill out the coupon.

Party Animals
Just before you receive each issue of Peak & Prairie, a rowdy bunch of trusty volunteers gets together and has a party - a mailing party. This is where all 12,000 Peak & Prairies are labeled, sorted, bundled and prepared for the post office. It's a great way to meet new people, have fun and do your part for Colorado's environment. Fill out the coupon below or call Angela Medbery at (303) 433-2608.

Office Aides
If you prefer to volunteer during the day, the Sierra Club chapter office in Denver can use you. The office is open from 8 to 4 and has an incredible variety of opportunities from which to choose. Managing the phones, computer tasks, membership and volunteer coordination are just a few. There's a lot of work involved in keeping 14,000 members happy, and new volunteers are always needed. Call our office during weekday business hours (303) 861-8819 to talk with Mary about the opportunities there.

Newsletter Mania
Getting Peak & Prairie out to all our members is quite an accomplishment. It's actually a multitude of various tasks, from writing articles to loading pickup trucks. Peak & Prairie is a great place to volunteer. There are plenty of opportunities to use your skills (or learn new ones). Best of all, most tasks require just a couple of hours every two months. Call Fran Baxter at (303) 238-8817 or fill out the coupon.

Photo Fanatics
If you are ever on a Sierra Club hike (past, present or future) or participate in trail maintenance or even an interesting public meeting or a group or committee meeting and have pictures (black & white or color), please let us use them in Peak & Prairie. Just send them to the Sierra Club office, 1410 Grant Street #B-205, Denver, CO 80203, Attn: Photo Editor. Please include a description of the hike or event, photo, participants and date. Photos are usually kept by the club unless arrangements are made for return.

Water Resources Committee
The chapter water resources committee deals with local, state and regional water resource issues. To volunteer, fill out the coupon below or contact Steve Glazer at P.O. Box 459, Crested Butte, CO 81224; phone: (970) 349-6646, when in Denver: (303) 757-2303; or email

Groups in Need of Volunteers!

Blue River Group (Frisco area) has a new agenda to include programs and outings to bring in new members and activists. They are looking for people from outside to lead interesting outings and/or to help them set up their outings program. Call Kevin at (970) 668-8972.

Mount Evans Group (Conifer area) needs help with the maintenance of 17 miles of the Cub Creek Trail leading into the Mt. Evans Wilderness. The Group is planning work outings on the adopted section on June 13 and 20. Members and non-members in the area may volunteer to help by calling Lyn at (303) 838-8117.

The Weminuche Group (Durango area) has too few activists, so they will going out to their members with an ultimatum soon to shut down before the end of the year unless more volunteers come forward. Contact Jim Decker at (970) 247-8811.



No matter how much time or experience you have, you can make a difference to the future of Mother Earth. Start by filling out and mailing in this coupon. Another volunteer will contact you about how you can help out according to your schedule and interests.

___Toxics Issues ___Volunteer Coordinator ___Lifestyle Committee
___ National Forest Issues ___Water Resources Committee ___Energy Activists
___Colorado Wilderness ___Peak & Prairie editor or Layout ___Agriculture Committee
___Wildlife Committee ___Office Help ___Photo Fanatics
___Population Committee ___Mailing Parties ___Computer Committee
___Open Space Volunteers ___Mining Committee ___Outing Organizers
___Backdrop Boosters ___Legal Aid ___ Hazardous Waste
___Pesticide Committee ___Inner City Outings ___ Gay and Lesbian Sierrans




Phone: _____________________(home) __________________(work)

E-mail address _______________________________

Mail to: It's Easy to be Green Sierra Club 1410 Grant St. #B205 Denver, CO 80203