Dallas Sierra Club
#########Dallas Sierra Club News

March, 2010: In This Issue. . .


Notes from the Chair

Say Goodbye to Winter and Invest in Yourself

After a beautiful snowy winter, it's finally time to get out those tents, hiking boots and camp stoves. While your Dallas Sierra Club continues to battle the polluters, the message of John Muir has never been more important to get out into nature to know and feel what you are trying to protect.

Whether you join the Dallas Sierra Club Recycling Team at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, strap on the back pack for the next Memorial Day Bus Trip, or just meet-up for a short day hike, your participation will be rewarded by far more than the time and effort you invest. If you can't make the outdoor activities, you can also invest your funds in the Dallas Group. With natural disasters grabbing the headlines, your donations become more critical than ever.

So as spring arrives in Texas, INVEST in yourself and your local group. The rate of return is guaranteed to be high.

Your Dallas Chair, Wendel Withrow


January General Meeting Program - March 9, 7:00 pm

 Dale on PCTLong-time Dallas Sierran Dale Edelbaum will be doing a video presentation on the first 1200 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border to Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe which he hiked in 2009 with Barb Nash. The presentation includes the John Muir Trail, which overlaps the PCT, as well as sidetrips up Mt Whitney and down into Yosemite Valley.

Visit our website for complete information about our General Meeting, including a map.


Join Us for the Annual Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade

St Patrick's Day ParadeThe annual Greenville Ave. St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country (~100K people, 100+ floats).  Such a large event creates many tons of unnecessary waste, so we're SEEKING VOLUNTEERS to help make the parade greener.  Join the Dallas Sierra Club Recycling Team and help divert as many recyclables as possible from the landfill!

Last year, total recycling collection efforts yielded about 1200 lbs of material.  In order to top that number this year, we need YOUR help!  Volunteers can collect recycling from parade viewers or simply stroll along with our entry to promote the Sierra Club and conservation. In addition to the satisfaction and fun volunteers will receive from helping at the parade, they will also be given nifty green t-shirts and post-parade concert tickets.

Come out and join us on Saturday, March 13th, from 9:30am-1:30pm.  Please email stpaddysvolunteer@gmail.com (subject: Recycling Team) with questions or to participate.  For more info, including photos from 2009's Recycling Team efforts, click here.


Outings Highlights

Bandelier National Monument Bus Trip, May 28-June 1
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend by joining us as our sleeper bus takes us to this scenic area west of Santa Fe, New Mexico. There will be a variety of hikes tailored to allow backpackers of all skill levels to explore and enjoy this great area. New for this year we're also trying to plan an easy option for those who want a base camp in the developed camping areas, with day hikes instead of backpacking. Special adventures will include learning about Native American history and exploring their ruins in this unique area. Complete trip details and reservation information will be posted on www.dallassierraclub.org in a couple of weeks.

For a complete list of our outings, visit our outings page.


The Outings Corner

Blisters - Small Spot, Big Deal!
by Liz Wheelan

We all want to explore nature and then put up our feet just to relax, not because they are in pain. In a matter of a few steps, let alone a few miles, even a small blister on your foot can easily swing your thoughts from the joy of fresh air and beautiful surroundings to increasing discomfort felt with each step. For several years I've hiked prepared with traditional Moleskin in my first aid kit but had gone blister free for so long I had a false sense of immunity to this type of injury I'd seen others suffer. That changed recently while backpacking on Isle Royale National Park in Michigan where the views and wildlife are stunning but the high humidity made my feet damp (ok, sweat) while hiking. The experience reminded me of the importance for everyone to take time to learn how to prevent and treat blisters as preparation for your hike, whether novice or veteran and no matter how short or long the trails you plan to take. This article is to provide you with the very basics of the cause, prevention and treatment of blisters, and a few sources with more detailed articles by experts which I would encourage you to review before your next outing. Read the complete article on our website.


U.S. Supreme Court Gives Go-ahead for New Wildlife Refuge

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on February 22 that the Court will NOT hear the lawsuit brought by the City of Dallas and Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) against the Neches River National Wildlife Refuge! The City of Dallas wanted to build an un-needed resevour on the upper Naches River that would have flooded some of the best remaining bottomland hardwood forests in the state, an area that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has long considered one of the prime areas for a new wildlife refuge.

This decision paves the way for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to begin acquiring land for the refuge. An exciting 6,000 acres is in place for donation to the refuge soon.

It also paves the way for our key messages:

  • Dallas and other Metroplex cities can have plenty of water for future growth by tapping existing reservoirs, such as Lake Texoma, Wright Patman Reservoir, and Toledo Bend.

  • Designating the Neches River as a Wild and Scenic River would project the river from all reservoirs, plus be a boon to Texas tourism.

Congratulations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and to all the huge number of people who helped build support for the Neches River Refuge.


Recycling Round-Up
by Rita Raccoon

Recent Recycling News - March 2010

Dallas Moves to Citywide Recycling
The City of Dallas is moving to once-a-week garbage pick-up, including recycling, citywide on March 1. The plan is to have both garbage and recycling pick-up on the same weekday (helpful for those who forget which day is which). Some households who have alley pick-up currently may be switched to street curbside pick-up.

The city is moving to once a week pick-up to encourage recycling and it's working. In north and northwest Dallas, where much of the city is already on a once-weekly schedule, recycling rates have more than doubled from an average of 22 pounds to 46 pounds per household per month. Residents, meanwhile, are seeing a 64-cent savings on their sanitation bills vs. last year thanks to once-weekly pick-up.

FAQ:
Q: How can I get a cart?
A: If you currently place your trash in bags in the alley and get a water bill, the city will deliver a gray garbage cart in February. If you need a blue recycling cart, call 311 or 214-671-8877.
Q: How do I find out my pick-up day and get answers to other questions?
A: Visit www.onedaydallas.com, call 311 or 214-671-8877.

Plano Animal Shelter Goes Green
A number of buildings in the Dallas area have greened their interiors and exteriors, but one place in Plano has really done it right. Plano's animal shelter was recently given Plano's first LEED certification for an existing building. It's one of the first 10 in North Texas to receive the designation from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Several Plano employees, especially Richard Medlen, facilities maintenance superintendent, and Jamie Cantrell, animal services manager, made it their job to assure that the shelter, open in its current location since 2001, was green. Over time, this has included an array of energy-efficient moves such as changing lighting systems, using water conservation techniques, recycling and incorporating green materials.

The Plano Animal Shelter, a 15,000-square-foot building with 95 dog runs and 120 small-animal cages, had more than 50,000 visitors last year. "We care for an average of 200 animals each day, and there are 25 employees who work out of the shelter," Cantrell says.

Employees participate in several green programs that are unique to the shelter. "All organic wastes are collected by the staff to be turned into compost at the city's facility," Cantrell says. "All cardboard, plastic and other recyclable material is separated from the rest of our refuse so that it doesn't end up in our landfills."

The shelter also had to meet requirements for indoor air quality. "The air quality must be kept at levels that are healthy to the people who work and visit the building, and the animals benefit from the air quality improvements and monitoring as well," Cantrell says.

More than 12 Million Pounds of Computer Equipment Collected in Texas
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) recently announced first-year results on Texas' computer recycling program, which requires computer manufacturers selling in Texas to offer consumers convenient, free recycling for their brands of computer equipment. As part of this program, manufacturers collected for reuse or recycling 12,400,000 pounds of computer equipment in Texas for the 2009 calendar year.

Currently 81 manufacturers representing 116 brands are participating in the program. To help cities, counties, community groups, and schools promote computer-equipment recycling in newsletters and web sites, TCEQ is providing free print ads and web banners available for download at TexasRecyclesComputers.org. In addition, the TCEQ urges cities and counties to encourage residents to take advantage of the free program.

Texas consumers can learn how to recycle their computer equipment by visiting www.TexasRecyclesComputers.org. The site provides a link to each manufacturer's program as well as additional information for consumers, manufacturers, and retailers. For more information on the program contact the TCEQ's Pollution Prevention and Education section, 512-239-3143.

Free Mulch, Yours for the Shoveling
Preservation Tree Service is offering rough cut mulch at its location near Love Field. Call first (214 528-2266) to make sure mulch is available. Bring your own container and shovel, and check in at the front office for directions to the mulch bins. They are located at 2222 Empire Central.


Tap Water Quality in the U.S.
By Peter Wilson

Environmental Working Group (EWG) recently released the results of a three-year study on tap water quality across the U.S., the Drinking Water Quality Analysis & Tap Water Database, and determined that there's "good reason to worry about the safety of the drinking water."

EWG assembled an unprecedented database of 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by water utilities since 2004. It reveals a total of 316 contaminants in water supplied to 256 million Americans in 48,000 communities in 45 states. Among the contaminants were 202 chemicals that are not subject to any government regulation or safety standards for drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set enforceable drinking water safety standards for only 114 of the 316 substances detected (EPA 2009b).

Study data sources & methodology and water pollution contaminant & source information are available and can assist in understanding the specific water quality reports of your water utility (findable by zip code or utility).

The Top 100 Big City (greater than 250,000 people) "Best Water" rankings include Texas cities: Arlington (#1), Fort Worth (#3), Austin (#7), Dallas (#12), San Antonio (#29), Corpus Christi (#44), Plano (#50), and Houston (#95). The City of Plano Utility Operations Department is mentioned as a large utility with findings of the highest average levels of cancer-causing water disinfection byproducts.

EWG policy recommendations include: expanding requirements for testing unregulated contaminants, increased health protective standards for unregulated chemicals found in our water, and expanding programs to protect source water protection. The mistaken belief to buy bottled water, of which many popular brands are often bottled tap water, tainted with the same pollutants, is not a suggested solution.


What's wrong with the Forst Service?
By Bill Greer

People often confuse the Forest Service and Park Service. After all, they both wear green uniforms. But they are two very different agencies and it's important for environmentalists to understand the differences.

The National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior. The "Organic Act" that created the Park Service set out that their mission is to manage our parks in such a manner as to "leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." As the Ken Burns documentary showed there has often been disagreement as to what this means but at least the worthy goal is there. They are always short of money and sometimes hampered by conflicting legislation, but for the most part they do an incredible job. You need only visit a place like Grand Canyon or Yellowstone to appreciate the job they do. You can find out more at http://www.nps.gov/index.htm .

The US Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture. Their mission statement at first glance doesn't sound that different. It says their job is to "sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." The key difference is in that word "productivity." The Forest Service has a logging program, and above all else they see themselves as loggers. You can see their mission statement here: http://www.fs.fed.us/aboutus/mission.shtml. You can see the other side from Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics, FSEEE, here http://www.fseee.org/.

Perhaps no better example of the difference between Forest Service and Park Service comes in a recent letter from FSEEE about logging in the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is in southern Alaska and it is the largest National Forest at 17 million acres. It was once home to vast areas of temperate old growth forest, but 70% of those old growth tress have been logged.

FSEEE explains that in 2009 the Forest Service spent $11 million dollars building roads to reach logging projects in some of the remaining old growth timber. They spent another $10 million to administer that logging. They were able to sell those old growth giants for $300,000. In 2009 their old growth logging lost $20 million dollars. This is according to Forest Service accounting which many environmentalists contend is suspect. One study concludes that since 1980 the US Forest Service lost over a billion dollars logging the Tongass. A 2003 law that forbids below cost sales on the Tongass doesn't seem to have had much effect. It's hard not to wonder what the Park Service with their $3 billion budget could have done with that billion dollars. Or what us taxpayers could have done with it.

This means that in a time of great economic hardship and ballooning Federal budget deficits the US Forest Service on average spent a dollar to cut down an old growth giant they then sold for just over a penny.

The Park Service so far does not have a logging program. The Forest Service does, and as part of the Department of Agriculture they tend to see the forest as a crop. A Forest Service employee is really between a rock and a hard place. On one hand there are environmental laws they are supposed to follow, and laws like the one forbidding below cost logging on the Tongass. Groups like the Sierra Club and FSEEE sometimes try to make them follow these laws. On the other hand they are under tremendous pressure to "get the cut out." Sometimes that pressure wins, and that is the main thing that's wrong with the Forest Service.


Calendar

Here is our calendar through April. For complete listings, visit us at www.dallassierraclub.org.

MAR 9 (TUE) SIERRA CLUB GENERAL MEETING Everyone is invited to the General Meeting of the Dallas Sierra Club.  See above for details.

MAR 13 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

MAR 13 (SAT) ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE ON GREENVILLE AVE - RECYCLING EFFORT - 3RD ANNUAL DSC PARADE ENTRY The annual Greenville Ave St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest St. Patrick's Day parades in the country. Proceeds fund scholarships for children in the local area school districts. The Dallas Sierra Club will be entering a conservation-themed, Sierra Club awareness entry into the 2010 parade. Volunteers may help collect recycling from parade viewers or simply walk with our entry to promote the Sierra Club. In addition to the satisfaction volunteers will receive from helping at the parade, they will also be given SC t-shirts and post-parade concert tickets. For info/photos from last year's effort, copy/paste this link, and click back to March 2009: http://youngsierrans.wordpress.com/category/events/service/clean-up-activities/ To volunteer, please RSVP by 3/9 to the youngsierrans@dallassierraclub.org email address. We'll follow up to everyone by 3/11 with an email that includes final details. All are welcome to join in the fun! Contact: Peter Wilson

MAR 13 (SAT) DAYHIKE ON THE CHISHOLM TRAIL IN PLANO Meet at 3:30PM in front of the Starbucks/Barnes & Noble (north side of 15th just west of US 75). We will walk 6 miles on a paved path. Bring water. No reservations, just show up. Optional restaurant afterwards. Leader: Judy Cato 972-238-5738(H)

MAR 13-14 (SAT-SUN) BEGINNER BACKPACK AT CROSS TIMBERS TRAIL AT LAKE TEXOMA This very nice natural scenic recreation area is just two hours north of Dallas. It features thick woods with scenic bluffs,and interesting trails going down to the lake. We'll do a short [3-4 miles] backpack over rolling hills and then have the option for a couple of dayhikes. You can leave home early Saturday morning and meet us at the trailhead. This trip usually fills up,so sign up early to reserve a spot. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

MAR 17 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

MAR 23 (TUE) INNER CITY OUTINGS MEETING Snacks and social starts at 6:45 pm, meeting starts at 7:00 pm. Inner City Outings ("ICO") is an outreach program of the Sierra Club comprised of volunteers who provide wilderness experiences such as day hikes and camping for disadvantaged youth. ICO meets on the fourth Tuesdays at REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch). All volunteers and those considering becoming an ICO volunteer are welcome. Contact the ICO Chair for more information. To receive future announcements and meeting information you may sign up for our email list.

MAR 20 (SAT) TRAIL REHABILITATION AT CEDAR RIDGE PRESERVE, 9:00 - 11:00 AM Volunteer to help remove non-native plants, restore trails, and work in the butterfly garden at Cedar Ridge Preserve, 7171 Mountain Creek Parkway, Dallas, TX, 75249, phone 972-709-7784 if you get lost. Time: 9–11 AM. We'll provide snacks, water, pruning shears, shovels, and work gloves. All you need to bring is sun screen and bug repellent. Questions for the preserve? Contact info_CRP@yahoo.com. FREE Wine probable if you show up! HA. See you guys and gals there. Really, we gotta do this, its so cool. Call Ginger at 469-223-7902 for details. Leader: Ginger Bradley 469-223-7902(C)

MAR 20 (SAT) SATURDAY MORNING BICYCLE RIDE AT WHITE ROCK LAKE THIS TRIP HAS BEEN PUSHED BACK A WEEK TO 03/27/2010. PLEASE MAKE PLANS TO JOIN US!! Let's ride around White Rock Lake. Meet at 9:30 AM at the Stone Tables near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Blvd. This will be a leisurely trip of 9 miles in about 1-1/2 hours. Any bike and any body is welcome. All participants in Sierra Club bike rides must wear an approved helmet. The trip will be canceled if it is raining at White Rock Lake. Optional brunch afterwards. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

MAR 20-21 (SAT-SUN) BEGINNER BACKPACK TRIP IN THE BEECH CREEK SCENIC AREA Backpack about 9 relatively flat miles (round trip) in this beautiful area of southeastern Oklahoma. We'll hike in the basin area of this 8,000 acre Oak-Hickory-Pine-Beech forest near the source of Beach Creek. We'll make camp near a stream. As time permits, there may be an optional day hike, or we can sit in the stream. Preference will be given to the "graduates" of the Beginner Backpack Class Leaders: Thai Le 469-644-9820(C) and Marcos Jorge

MAR 27 (SAT) SATURDAY MORNING BICYCLE RIDE AT WHITE ROCK LAKE Let's ride around White Rock Lake. Meet at 9:30 AM at the Stone Tables near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Blvd. This will be a leisurely trip of 9 miles in about 1-1/2 hours. Any bike and any body is welcome. All participants in Sierra Club bike rides must wear an approved helmet. The trip will be canceled if it is raining at White Rock Lake. Optional brunch afterwards. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

MAR 27 (SAT) DAY HIKE AROUND WHITE ROCK LAKE Meet at the Stone Tables at White Rock Lake near Lake Highlands Drive and Buckner Blvd. The hike will start at 9:00am. We'll walk 9 miles in about 3 hrs on a paved path. Bring water and snacks. No reservations necessary. Optional lunch at local restaurant. Leaders: Judy Cato 972-238-5738(H) and Marcos Jorge 972-394-2546(H)

APR 4 (SUN) ANNUAL SIERRA CLUB AZALEA DAYHIKE IN HIGHLAND PARK Leisurely 1.5 or 2 hour walk. Turtle Creek and Flippen Park. Meet 2 PM in shopping strip on Oak Lawn (4200 block) just north of Wycliff. Take Oak Lawn Exit off I35 or Fitzhugh exit off Central Expressway. No reservations needed. Leader: Austin Brouns 214-528-3812(H)

APR 10 (SAT) WHITE ROCK LAKE CLEANUP. Walk and talk while helping to pick up trash and recyclables at the Sierra Club's adopted section of White Rock Lake Park. Meet at 8:15 AM at the Love of the Lake office on the Northeast corner of Garland Rd. and Buckner Blvd. Look for a crowd of people drinking free juice and coffee. Gloves, trash bags, etc. provided. Our area includes one of the wonderful prairie restoration areas, so there are always birds and wildflowers to enjoy. The lake and your karma will thank you. Brunch afterwards. Leader: Carol Nash 214-824-0244(H)

APR 10-11 (SAT-SUN) WEEKEND BACKPACK AT BUCKEYE MOUNTAIN TRAIL, ARKANSAS Hike one of the most scenic Wilderness trails in Arkansas in the Caney Creek Wilderness of west central Arkansas. Saturday we'll enjoy the views from the ridgetop Buckeye Mountain Trail. Sunday we'll hike out along the creek bottoms of the Caney Creek Trail. With any luck the wildflowers will be starting to emerge. This trip is rated moderate and would be suitable for beginners in good shape. Both days cover about 4 1/2 miles. Saturday includes an 800 foot uphill section. We'll camp Friday night near our cars, Saturday night near a nice little waterfall. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(H)

APR 21 (WED) OUTINGS COMMITTEE MEETING. Meet in the upstairs program room at REI (on north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch), at 6:30 PM. Bring your ideas for the Dallas Sierra Club Outings program. We will be planning local outings and bus trips. All outings leaders, future outings leaders, and interested Sierrans welcome. Ask Bill to be placed on the email list for an agenda. Contact: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

APR 23-26 (FRI-MON) SITTING BULL FALLS AND GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS, NEW MEXICO. Explore these gems of Lincoln National Forest, west of Carlsbad and north of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Arrive late Friday afternoon at our camp on a mesa above Sitting Bull Canyon. Saturday, hike a loop of 6.6 miles and two optional spurs, a total of 10 miles, with day packs. Most of the time, we'll hike in canyons watered by year-round streams. One short spur leads to 130-foot Sitting Bull Falls, the other to the "Staircase" in Last Chance Canyon. The loop route involves descent of 1,000 feet and a corresponding ascent. The Staircase option ascends another 400 feet. Sunday, head home or motor into the Guadalupes and another trailhead. Hike 4 generally level miles on Wilderness Ridge to the Texas state line and back. Retrieve backpacks and hike 1.5 level miles to a grassy camp in a sunken valley on Big Canyon Ridge, overlooking canyons 1,800 feet below. This trip is MODERATE or MODERATE/STRENUOUS, depending on options. Car pooling is encouraged and will be facilitated, but Club regulations preclude assignment of pool arrangements. Leader: Mark Stein 214-526-3733(W)

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