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

August, 2010: In This Issue. . .


Notes from the Chair

Bad News…Good News
The dog days of summer are upon us… with the usual Texas vengeance. With temperatures over 100, the local hiking scene has been reduced to early mornings and late late afternoons. The good news is that this is the perfect time to escape to Colorado on our Sierra Club Bus Trip scheduled for the Labor Day weekend or the high desert of the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona or Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. With elevations of 6,000 feet – 8,000 feet these two Parks provide a much cooler place to keep those hiking boots in action and to observe the incredible progress the National Park service is making on mass transportation for the ever growing number of visitors.

As many of you know, the number of visitors (especially international visitors) has increased nearly every year to the point where the Parks themselves were being degraded by the sheer number of automobiles, campers, RVs, and their air-conditioned occupants, especially the Grand Canyon. Not only was the air quality affected, but the Park experience was severely threatened.

The good news is that the clean fuel shuttle systems being put in place at many of our greatest parks is working! While a few visitors are probably grumbling about having to park their vehicles in a central lot, I believe the vast majority are more than glad to leave the driving to others and concentrate on the view of nature and not the view of the rear-end of the next car in line.

While we have a long way to go, the “suggestion” by Edward Abbey in 1968 that cars should not be allowed in every corner of our most sacred natural cathedrals any more than autos are allowed in our most sacred man-made cathedrals is coming closer to reality. Now THAT'S GOOD NEWS. Have a great summer!

Your Dallas Chair,
Wendel Withrow


General Meeting Program - August 10, 7:00 pm - Refreshments at 6:30

Environmentally Friendly Pest Management
For over 20 years, Gene Helmick-Richardson, Ph.D. entomologist, has been working in "organic" pest control in the Metroplex.  He was Green before Green was cool.  He presents BYOB (Bring Your Own Bug) programs to schools and libraries and has many stories of the wonders of the six- and eight-legged world.  In addition to speaking on the ever-changing world of least toxic pest control and offering free advice for pest control in our area, Gene will share a few insect adventures.

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


Outings Highlights

Becoming a Sierra Club Outings Leader, August 11
Have you ever thought about becoming an outings leader for the Sierra Club? Come to this introductory seminar and we'll tell you how to get started. We'll go over the types of outings the Club does, what we expect from our leaders, what training is required, and what services the Club provides. We'll look at the schedule of additional training for those of you who want to start leading outings. The seminar will be held at REI (Cross Timbers Room), 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch) from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. You don't need to sign up, just show up. Organizer: Arthur Kuehne 214-902-9260(H)

Weminuche WildernessLabor Day Bus Trip to the Weminuche Wilderness, September 2-7
Would you like to cap your summer with a backpacking trip in one of the most spectacular Wilderness areas in the United States? We have the perfect opportunity. Spend the Labor Day holiday in the Weminuche Wilderness in Southwest Colorado. Our chartered sleeper bus departs Dallas on September 2 for four days of unforgettable hiking. You won't find a better way to end your summer. Complete trip details and reservation information, along with pictures of the area, are posted at www.dallassierraclub.org/outings.

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


The The Outings Corner

How to Inspect Your Boots
By Bill Greer

boot failureIt seems that in the past few years boots have gotten less reliable. Perhaps this has something to do with them mostly being made in China now. It seems like almost every trip at least one pair of boots begins to spontaneously disassemble itself. On a short walk about White Rock Lake this isn't a big deal. About the worst that could happen is you have to call a cab. But if you are on a long wilderness backpack and find yourself many miles from the nearest trailhead this can be a very serious problem. Walking those miles barefoot is not something to be looked forward to. So how can you detect serious boot problems before they strand you? Take proper care of your boots and look them over carefully before each hike. Even if they're new. Here's what you should look for and what you need to do.

Keeping your boots in one piece starts with proper care. In Texas one of the most common causes of premature boot expiration is heat. Modern boots are glued together with heat activated adhesives. This glue is also heat deactivated. If you leave you boots on your car seat on a sunny July day with the windows rolled up they can easily get hot enough to weaken glue bonds that hold your boots together. After a few miles on the trail your boot soles will begin flapping in the breeze. So keep your boots cool.

While hot cars are a common cause of overheated boots, they aren't the only one. Boots have been killed by overzealous drying too. Don't apply any more heat to boots for any reason than you would apply to your own skin. If you've rinsed them off and want to speed up drying just put them in front of a fan at room temperature. Remove the insoles so nothing starts to grow under them. Let them sit overnight and they'll be dry in the morning. Put on whatever leather potion is recommended for your particular model of boots. Avoid anything with oil or solvent in it, such as Snow Seal. Water based products won't dissolve your glue. Some products still on the market are meant for boots that are sewn together.

Inspect your boots carefully after each hike so that if you discover a problem you've got time to research new boots before your next trip. You don't want to discover your boot soles are peeling off the night before you are supposed to leave for that 9 day hike in the Wind River Mountains.

Begin by cleaning them off with plenty of warm water, inside and out. Caked on mud can dry out leather and it can hide the problems we will be looking for. Remove your insoles so you can check them for wear. Often they wear out long before your boots do. Plenty of good replacements are available. After you have them out, look around inside your boot for anything that looks amiss.

Next, examine your laces. This is the most common failure point on boots. Look them over carefully for any frayed spots. Also look for any spots that seem thin or lumpy. This indicates that internal strands have broken. If you have any doubt about their condition, replace them. Always carry a spare pair of laces. Be sure you take your spare laces on any day hikes you do. There is no rule that says laces only break when you have your backpack along. I had one break on a long day hike in Big Bend far from my big pack. Check all the hardware your laces go through to be sure it is still securely attached to your boot and not worn out.

If your laces need to be replaced, check out the utility cord climbers use. It's inexpensive and much better cord than the stuff sold as boot laces. Just look for something about the same size as your old laces. Cut off whatever length you need and melt the ends.

Inspect all sewn seams on your boots. A good local shoe repair shop can often fix worn stitching.

Check very carefully where your rubber boot soles join your upper. In the picture above this is the seam that failed. Look for any signs of separation between rubber and leather or fabric. Gently try to peel them away from the upper. Don't try too hard! A tiny bit of separation may not be a sign of impending doom but it's a spot that should be watched carefully.

Look at the bottom of your soles. If they are starting to look like an old set of bald tires it may be time for new boots even if they're still in one piece. Slipping on a muddy trail is not much more fun than having boots fall apart.

Modern boots are a lightweight miracle of foot protection. But like most lightweight gear they are not as tough as their heavy predecessors. A 2 ½ pound boot needs a little more TLC that the old 8 pound "Frankenstein boots" did. But the light boot sure gets you down the trail with a lot less effort.


Recycling Round-Up
by Rita Raccoon

Recent Recycling News - July 2010 

North Richland Hills May Take On Apartment Recycling
Apartment dwellers have been increasingly calling the city, concerned that their plastic bottles, magazines and soup cans are ending up in the trash instead of a recycling bin.

"I receive calls from apartment managers too, wanting to know what they can offer their residents because they're getting the same requests," said Debbie York, neighborhood services manager for North Richland Hills. "We really don't have anything for them."

It's a common and years-old refrain across Tarrant County, where few apartment complexes offer any kind of recycling. No one has been able to keep the cost and contamination low enough to make recycling possible for a significant number of North Texans.

But North Richland Hills, which has offered curbside recycling for single-family homes since the early 1990s, is making another run at recycling on multifamily properties. The city has applied for $43,665 in grant money from the North Central Texas Council of Governments to start a pilot program at four apartment complexes.

City leaders will find out July 15 whether they can launch the program.

The complexes have not been chosen, but York said the city is leaning toward one with more than 800 units and three smaller ones. All told, she said, officials hope to try it with about 1,600 units, about 23 percent of the city's apartments.

"We've had people move here from other cities and states where they are able to recycle, and they are really appalled that they can't," York said. "We also have people who have lost their homes or haven't lived in apartments in years, and they're used to recycling. They want that same opportunity in apartments."

Recycling, in and of itself, doesn't provide much of a revenue stream. Prices for recycling have been quite low in recent years, and most cities consider it a victory to break even. But diverting all that material saves money by making a landfill last longer.

Apartment recycling has been a challenge for many cities and complexes in North Texas, said Perry Pillow, director of government affairs for the Apartment Association of Tarrant County, which represents the interests of the owners and managers of hundreds of complexes.

Many pilot programs have never advanced beyond that stage, and numerous studies have been commissioned, he said. He has worked for years with officials in Fort Worth and Arlington, but he said that contamination of recycling receptacles with regular trash makes it unworkable for complexes and haulers.

"Everybody wants to do it, and everybody knows we need to do it," Pillow said. "But it's been a hard nut to crack -- how do you get apartment residents to recycle? The challenge is contamination. You can't control what goes in."

In the vast majority of cases, apartment complexes contract with private companies to dispose of their garbage, so cities are left with only the power of encouragement.

Contamination isn't the only reason it isn't more widespread in North Texas, said Kim Mote, Fort Worth's assistant director for environmental management. He said cost is another major factor in the highly competitive apartment market. Offering on-site recycling would increase disposal costs for the complex, he said.

"We took a survey about five years ago to see what the climate was, and we found out that the managers did not want to add any costs and a majority of the residents did not want to pay more for rent to be able to recycle," Mote said.

York said educating residents will be a major part of the pilot program, provided that the council of governments approves the grant.

"There is a lot of continuous education because people move in and out of apartments," she said. At the end of nine months, "We'll be giving the City Council a report -- how many Dumpsters were used, what was the contamination rate, how much was collected, what was the opinion of the apartment managers."

Health Care Industry Recycling
The health care industry has a trash problem.. It’s not just all the garbage generated – it’s the unused disposable medical devices, used devices that could be recycled including surgical instruments, gauzes and syringes.

The move toward using disposables made it simple to keep treatment practices sterile created a growing mound of used equipment and unused materials in kits set up for procedures. Rather than restock items like gauzes and sutures, health care providers used to toss them. The operating room alone churns out roughly 20 to 30 percent of a hospital’s waste. Some single-use devices can be reused after reprocessing, but original-equipment manufacturers and their trade group, The Advanced Medical Technology Association, warned that it was unsafe to recycle devices designed for single use. Since 2000, however, the FDA has required that reprocessing companies meet the same stringent regulation for their products that original device makers do.

Today, more that half the country’s hospital send at least some of their single-use devices to reprocessors, and many institutions locally send their surplus sutures, and broken packs of still-sterile gauzes and other medical supplies abroad via Medi-Send,. Another approach is to cut back the use of disposables at the source by streamlining packaged surgical kits. One kit for implanting an intravenous port in chemotherapy patients contained 44 items, but a team at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in Fairview reduced it to 27 items and swapped disposable gowns and linens for reusable ones. That trimmed a pound of trash and $50 in supply costs per procedure. So far kit reformulations have prevented 7,792 lbs of waste and saved $104,658.

For more information, visit http://www.medisend.org/.


Calendar

Here is our calendar for the next two months. For complete listings, visit us at www.dallassierraclub.org.

AUG 11 (WED) INTRO TO BECOMING A SIERRA CLUB OUTINGS LEADER. Want a rewarding way to help the club, meet great people and also have fun? Have you ever thought about becoming an outings leader for the Sierra Club? Come to this introductory seminar and we'll tell you how to get started. We'll go over the types of outings the Club does, what we expect from our leaders, what training is required, and what services the Club provides. We'll look at the schedule of additional training for those of you who want to start leading outings. The seminar will be held at REI (Cross Timbers Room), 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch) from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. Organizer: Arthur Kuehne 1-972-635-9774(H)

AUG 12 (THU) ANSEL ADAMS EXHIBIT AT THE AMON CARTER, 6:30PM Join the Fort Worth Group of Sierra Club for an evening tour of the exhibit "Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light". Adams was a prominent member of the Sierra Club as well as being one of the greatest photographers of all time. We will meet in the photography galleries. RSVP's are appreciated, but not required. RSVP or contact Leader: Dewayne Quertermous

AUG 14 (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)

AUG 17 (TUE) NIGHT HIKE ON THE CHISHOLM TRAIL IN PLANO Meet at 7:00PM in front of the Starbucks/Barnes & Noble (north side of 15th just west of US 75). We will walk 5 miles on a paved path. Bring water. No reservations, just show up. Optional ice cream afterwards. Leader: Judy Cato 972-238-5738(H)

AUG 18 (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)

AUG 21 (SAT) INVITING OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS & OUTINGS LEADERS ~ IT’S TRAINING TIME! Reservation deadline Tuesday, AUG 17. Do you have a passion for getting outdoors and a willingness to share your interest with others? Are you wanting to hike a particular destination but haven’t seen the trip on our outings list? Are you a current outings leader needing to renew your leader training requirement or wanting to refresh your outing skills? Whether newly interested in becoming an outings leader or a veteran, we invite you to come relax among friends for this hands on opportunity to complete the Outings Leader Training 101 (required every four years but attending more often is great). Sierra Club members are needed to lead various outings including short day hikes to nearby venues, service and educational outings, car camping and backpacking trips. OLT 101 is a prerequisite for leading all types of outings and covers a variety of topics including information and tools for helping you with the hard and soft skills of outdoor leadership. Prior outdoor leadership experience is not required – just bring your enthusiasm and we’ll help you with the rest. We’ll meet from 9:30am - 3:30pm at a location near Hillcrest/Northwest Highway (Dallas) and lunch will be provided. Directions and more information will be sent to participants a few days before the training. There is no registration cost but reservations are required via email by Tuesday, Aug 17. TO MAKE A RESERVATION OR FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEND YOUR NAME AND PHONE NUMBER TO: Coordinator: Liz Wheelan 214-368-2306(H)

AUG 24 (TUE) NIGHT HIKE AT ARBOR HILLS NATURE PRESERVE Meet at 7:00PM near the pavilions. Arbor Hills is located at 6701 W. Parker Rd. in Plano just west of Midway Rd. We will walk 5 miles mainly on a paved path. No reservations, just show up. Optional frozen yogurt afterwards. Leader: Judy Cato 972-238-5738(H)

SEP 2-7 (THU-TUE) LABOR DAY BUS TRIP TO WEMINUCHE WILDERNESS IN COLORADO Escape the Texas heat this Labor Day weekend and join us for our trip to the cool Colorado mountains of the Weminuche Wilderness. This trip has mountains, lakes, streams, and valleys. Trips will range from base camping with day hikes to backpacking with strenuous long hikes. The Weminuche Wilderness offers a great diversity and all the miles you want to hike. It is a hidden jewel and one of our most popular trips. Summiting the Rio Grande Pyramid and the Window are highlights on two of the trips. You can see photos of the area here. This trip leaves early evening on the 2rd and returns early morning of the 7th. Some experience similar to your trip activity is required. Complete trip details and reservation information is posted on our outings page. Contact: Kathryn Hurn 214-321-4030(C) and Mark Stein 214-526-3733(H) and Zeev Saggi 214-692-5907(H) or 214-538-2437(C)

SEP 11 (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)

SEP 15 (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)

SEP 18 (SAT) BEGINNER BACKPACKING CLASS. This class is an ideal way to learn about backpacking. Topics include: wilderness ethics, outdoor clothing, boots, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, cookware, food, and preparing for a trip. Instructors are experienced Dallas Sierra Club leaders. There will be time for questions and a hands-on look at outdoor gear. Lunch of backpacking food is included. You will also have the opportunity to learn about, and sign up for, several beginner backpacking trips. The fee is $20 for Sierra Club members and $30 for non-members (cash or check) You can sign up to be a Sierra Club member at the class. No reservations are necessary, just show up. The class will be held at REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Welch and Midway). The class will start at 10:30 AM and end at about 5:00 PM. Leader: Bob Gates 972-678-1221(H)

SEP 18 (SAT) ANSEL ADAMS EXHIBIT AT THE AMON CARTER, NOON Join the Fort Worth Group of Sierra Club for a tour of the exhibit "Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light". Adams was a prominent member of the Sierra Club as well as being one of the greatest photographers of all time. We will meet in the photography galleries. RSVP's are appreciated, but not required. RSVP or contact Leader: Dewayne Quertermous

SEP 22 (WED) ADVANCED BACKPACKING You’ve got a few local weekend backpacks under your belt; so you want to do more: a fly-drive or multi-night outing, or even try a cold weather trip. This class will cover advanced backpacking tips and skills including winter camping, fly-drive planning and equipment, bear barrel packing, and week-long trekking. Location: REI, 4515 LBJ Freeway, Farmers Branch, TX 75244 (north side of LBJ between Midway and Welch). This class will start promptly at 6:30 PM and will finish at about 8:45 PM. The fee for the class is $15 for Sierra Club members and $20 for non-members (cash or check). No reservations are necessary; just show up. For more information: Bill Greer 972-247-0446(H)

SEP 23 (THU) NIGHT HIKE AT ARBOR HILLS NATURE PRESERVE Celebrate the Autumn Equinox. Meet at 6:30PM near the pavilions. Arbor Hills is located at 6701 W. Parker Rd. in Plano just west of Midway Rd. We will walk 4.5 miles mainly on a paved path. No reservations, just show up. Optional frozen yogurt afterwards. Leader: Judy Cato 972-238-5738(H)

SEP 25 (SAT) WHITE ROCK CREEK TRAIL DAYHIKE Come join us as we day hike 7 miles on the northern reaches of White Rock Creek. This is a very urban, paved trail but it is actually very nice as it follows the creek under all the main thoroughfares of north Dallas. No pets, please. Bring water and a snack as we will be walking all morning. We will leave the trail head promptly at 9 AM. To reach the trailhead from the intersection of I-635 and Hillcrest Rd., go north on Hillcrest a short distance turn right on Valley View and turn right into the second parking lot. Remember it's the second parking lot on the right. I'll be near the restrooms and playground. Optional lunch afterwards. Leader: Mark Adams 972-658-1281(C)

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