Peak & Prairie

Rocky Mountain Chapter's
Online Newsletter
April / May 1999


Urgent Call

Help Protect Our Desert Canyon Country


by Tina Arapkiles, SW Regional Office


For the past several years, the Southwest Regional Office has worked with Rocky Mountain Chapter projects designed to increase volunteer activism, educate the public about environmental issues and increase visibility for the Club in Colorado.

This year, we are hiring an organizer to coordinate a campaign to appeal to Coloradans and Sierra Club members statewide. The theme of the campaign is Protect Colorado’s Wild Places for our Families for Our Future. The focus will be our desert canyon country—public lands owned by all Americans. Many people think of Utah when they think of canyon land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is just as spectacular as canyon lands in Utah—and they are less crowded. Much of this land is unknown even to Sierra Club members.

Our organizer will visit groups around the state, show slides on the canyon lands of Colorado and conduct training on how to bring new activists into the campaign.

In Grand Junction, we will coordinate a flotilla down the Colorado River on April 24 to demonstrate support for protecting our canyons and rivers. In the 18, we will pass out postcards at area grocery stores and outdoor retail shops educating the public and urging the BLM to protect the threatened Vermillion Basin in the northwest corner of Colorado.

The Vermillion Basin is a site of spectacular petroglyphs, colorful bad-lands, seashell fossil beds and a diversity of rare and uncommon plants and geologic formations. It is threatened by a Marathon Oil Company proposal to drill for oil, effectively destroying the Vermillion Basin. It is also threatened by overuse by off road vehicles.

Wilderness is an issue that unites the entire Chapter. This campaign, also known as the Environmental Public Education Campaign (EPEC), will bring to the public’s attention the fragile nature of the canyon lands of Colorado. We will show the urgency to protect these lands from oil and gas exploration, off road vehicle abuse, logging and mismanagement by the BLM.

To get involved, please contact the Southwest Office at 303-449-5595 or email