Until recently, both North and South Dakota were served by
the Dacotah Chapter, the last to include Sierra Club
members from more than one state. In May, the Club's Board
of Directors decided to split the chapter in two.
The reorganization has allowed North Dakotans - who kept the
name "Dacotah" - to shore up their time and resources to
fight legislation that puts the state's remaining public
lands in jeopardy.
The War on the Environment has, for now, eclipsed the
wilderness proposal "Badlands on the Brink" as the Dacotah
Chapter's top priority. Written by the Sierra Club and 15
other groups in an effort to save the state's 1.1 million
acres of national grasslands from further oil-and-gas
development, "Badlands" proposes wilderness designation for
13 areas totaling 180,000 acres.
"Because of the anti-wilderness leanings of the current
Congress, the proposal is no closer to being enacted," says
Kirk Koepsel, associate representative in the Northern
Plains field office. "But the Dacotah Chapter has still
accomplished a tremendous amount toward protecting the
state's last wildlands. It is one of the most professional,
politically savvy groups of Sierra Club members I've worked
With only 350 members, the Dacotah Chapter relies on the
strength-in-numbers that comes from coalition-building.
Hunters and anglers are natural partners for the Sierra Club
in this state, which has more wildlife refuges than any
"The 'hook-and-bullet' folks are very important to our
success," says Chapter Chair Todd Herreid, a North Dakota
native who is himself an avid outdoorsman and hunter. "We
often battle a perception that the Sierra Club is an anti-
hunting group. If that were true, I probably wouldn't be a
The chapter recently cooperated with a local hunting group,
the Lewis and Clark Wildlife Club, on a series of radio
spots alerting North Dakotans to threats in a grazing bill
introduced by Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and approved in
July by the Senate Energy Committee. The bill, which affects
1.2 million acres of land in North Dakota, would create a
new federal agency to jointly manage national grasslands
with grazing interests.
"It's probably one of the worst-thought-out pieces of
legislation I've ever seen," said Herreid. "Livestock
operators should not be given power while every other user
group is denied a role."
Unlike national parks, which do not allow exploitation of
natural resources, national grasslands operate under a
multiple-use mandate that caters to grazing and oil
A bill introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) would drop
all pretense of multiple-use management and make grazing the
dominant activity on the state's public lands. The Dacotah
Chapter and its allies responded this summer by producing a
series of television commercials about the bill.
Thanks to the chapter's persistent press work, several local
newspapers have printed editorials detailing the threats to
North Dakota's public lands posed by the current Congress.
Chapter members also recently stymied plans to construct a
bridge over the Little Missouri River, which the Club has
proposed for federal wild-and-scenic designation. And by
working directly with private landowners and federal
agencies, such as the Bureau of Land Management, activists
are negotiating the transfer of some mineral rights on the
grasslands - which are often leased to oil-and-gas
developers - from private hands into the public domain.
What makes activists successful in this sparsely populated,
rural state is that they understand what the average North
Dakotan wants, say Club leaders.
"Up here, we can't just fight all natural resource
exploitation on principle because it's so much a part of
people's lives," says Dexter Perkins, a Grand Forks resident
and the Agassiz Basin Group chair. "We don't tend to
compromise so much as pick our issues carefully."
What you can do: Urge your members of Congress to (1)
support more stringent protection for national grasslands
and (2) push for the designation of national grassland
For more information: Contact Todd Herreid at (701) 774-8904.
Members of Texas' Lone Star Chapter gathered in Houston
recently to participate in the "Fundraising Roadshow," a
workshop put on by Club volunteers from across the country
to help chapters and groups improve their fundraising
The message from trainer Cathy Liu Scott was simple:
Fundraising is closely linked to conservation programs. If
you haven't carefully planned your conservation goals, you
can't begin raising money. Scott said all good fundraising
campaigns require three elements: a specific problem, a
Sierra Club solution to that problem, and ways people can
help. The workshop gave representatives from five groups in
Texas a chance to discuss their conservation priorities and
formulate plans to fund them.
Drusha Mayhue, chair of the Houston Group, says the workshop
made her realize that fundraising within the Sierra Club
should be a team effort.
"Whether you are the chief fundraiser heading up a campaign
or the conservation person immersed in the issues, you must
share the work of fundraising," says Mayhue.
As a result of the Fundraising Roadshow, the Houston Group
Executive Committee had its Conservation Chair make a
presentation on the Katy Prairie Campaign, which aims to
preserve a sustainable portion of that prairie west of
"We decided to repeat this kind of exercise regularly so
that all members have a clear understanding of the issues,"
Mayhue says. "We also learned to communicate more about
fundraising objectives. We should all be working on the same
goals rather than pursuing such diverse projects that our
efforts become diluted - and possibly ineffective - because
of lack of support from each other."
To bring the "Fundraising Roadshow" to your
chapter, contact Larry Sherwood, 2001 Mesa Dr., Boulder,
CO 80304; (303)440-8985; e-mail:
San Francisco Chapter volunteer Frank Orem is the Sierra
Club's information coordinator for the non-profit
organization Global Action Plan for the Earth (GAP), which
promotes less wasteful, more sustainable lifestyle
During the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil, says Orem,
scientists told Americans that unless they curbed their rate
of consumption within the next decade, the quality of life
for future generations worldwide would be seriously
jeopardized. Currently, the United States consumes more than
one-third of the Earth's resources but makes up only 5
percent of the world's population.
In 1993, GAP launched the "Household EcoTeam Program," a
grassroots endeavor designed to teach participants the
fundamentals of sustainable living - reducing consumption
and waste levels to maintain the future integrity of our
"The program is low-key, built with small, attainable steps
in the areas of waste and consumption, and it doesn't
require a huge investment of time or money," says Orem.
David Gershon, founder and president of GAP, says that more
than 3,000 U.S. households have participated in the six-
month program so far. On average, each household has reduced
garbage by 42 percent, used 25 percent less water, used 16
percent less fuel for transportation, cut 16 percent of
their carbon dioxide output, and saved approximately $400
Orem encourages Club members to participate in the program.
He hopes that the Club's involvement will spur widespread
interest in the "EcoTeam" approach.
"GAP is a great vehicle for Club members to share our
passion for stewardship in a way that results in cooperative
change," he says. "By bending our own behavior toward
sustainable living, we can help others do the same."
To take action: Contact Frank Orem at (510) 671-2958 or GAP
at (914) 679-4830.
"No means no!" was the rally cry of 350 Arizonans who
gathered at a congressional hearing June 3 to protest a
"takings" bill that is nearly identical to one voters
rejected last November.
"Arizonans know this is not an issue between those who
support private property and those who don't," said Joni
Bosh, a longtime leader in the Sierra Club's fight against
takings legislation. "It's a camouflaged fight over money -
over who pays and who benefits."
Bosh and eight other witnesses testified at the hearing
against Arizona Republican Rep. John Shadegg's plan to re-
introduce takings legislation similar to last year's
Proposition 300, which lost by a 60 to 40 percent margin.
The Sierra Club's insurance plan now covers rock-climbing
and mountaineering trips organized by chapters and groups,
but so far only four California chapters have taken
advantage of the plan. Unless there is more participation,
the Board of Directors may not renew the insurance. Some
requirements and restrictions apply.
For more information: Contact Cathy Benton in the Sierra
Club Outing Department at (415) 977-5652.
The 1995 Leader List, the most comprehensive listing of
Sierra Club leaders at the national, regional, chapter and
group levels, is now available. This critical tool, which
includes names, addresses and leadership categories, is
intended to facilitate communication and information-sharing
among Club leaders and activists. It's a 3-hole punched, 8
1/2" x 11" 145-page packet.
To order: Send a check for $12 payable to Sierra Club, along
with your name, address and phone number(s) to: Office of
Volunteer and Activist Services, Sierra Club, 730 Polk
Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-3441, Attn: Eric Wilson.
For more information: Call Eric Wilson at (415) 977-5576.
The 1995-96 Nominating Committee for Sierra Club elections
was confirmed by the Board's Executive Committee in May.
The one-year term, continuing members are Jim Curtis, Vivian
Newman and Ed Wayburn. New appointees to the two-year term
are Judy Anderson, Doris Cellarius, Pat Frock and Chuck
Recommendations for candidates for the Board of Directors
should go to members of this committee.
The Sierra Club's annual awards banquet will be held
Saturday, Sept. 16, 1995, at the California Culinary Academy
in San Francisco. The event kicks off with a 6 p.m.
reception; the banquet begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35
For more information: Contact Sandy Scales at (415) 977-5519.
Is there an accomplishment, a grassroots victory or some
local Club news you want to put up in lights? Shout it from
the rooftops, put it in your chapter newsletter -- and send
it to The Planet! The ClubBeat section is dedicated to your
stories, triumphs, lessons learned, issue updates and
grassroots tips. Send items to The Planet, 85 Second St., Second Floor, San
Francisco, CA 94105-3441, or via e-mail at:
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