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Toiyabe Chapter
Nevada and Eastern California
PO Box 8096
Reno, NV 89507

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Toiyabe Chapter's 50th Anniversary

You are important to the Chapter whether or not you've
gone on a hike or attended a meeting.  Tell us why you
are a member.  We're waiting to hear from you. 

Yes, I've I got a Sierra Club story or photos to share
on the web and in the Toiyabe Trails Newsletter.

Then and Now:
 Toiyabe Chapter Outings - Reno Then and Now
Tina Nappe discusses how our cfuture links us to our past

Past as Prologue of Future: 
The Founding of the Toiyabe Chapter 50 Years Ago.

Identify Yourself with the Personalities of an Effective Environmental Organization

Chapter Sponsors the Public Lands "Certificate of Deed"
"Deed" responds to mid 90's anti-"public land" congress

Can you name all four people from this 1980 Sierra Club Outing?
I have a picture or word contest I'd like to put on the web.

Bob Gaw: Early days leading to the Chapter's formation
Helaine Greenberg: "All’s Well That Ends Well" Sierra Club Holiday Outing
Marge Sill: the important work of Chapter on 1989 Wilderness
Red Rock National Conservation Area 1990

Classic Trip Descriptions (Sierra Club Leaders Share Favorites):
Ross Smith: Trip Description Classic: South Warner Summit Trail Backpack
David von Seggern: Camas Lily Hike at Sage Hen Creek, near Truckee, California

Vicki Toy-Smith Sierra Landscape 2006

Memorable Outings:

Joy Bridgeman: Chickadees of the Carson Range
Ursula Wilson-Booth: WeeThump Wilderness Service Trip

Essays and Commentaries:
Jake Highton:  Political ads bamboozle
Vicki Hoover: Chapter responsible for Wilderness Designations

Past Trails History Articles:

Chapter history: 1957-1967 (from Toiyabe Trails 1997)
Chapter history: 1968-1982 (from Trails 1997)
Chapter history: 1983-1997 (from Trails 1997)
Chapter 35th Anniversary Party at the Will James Cabin (from Trails 1991)
Chapter Chairs from 1957-1991 (from Trails 1991)

Chapter Stories, Memories, and Classic Trip Descriptions

Public Lands "Certificate of Deed" (David von Seggern) The Certificate of Deed to the Public Lands of America:
After the Republican takeover of the U.S. Congress in 1992, the outlook for environmentalists and conservationists was grim indeed.  There was a legislative onslaught against public lands and the agencies that manage them.  The revered U.S. Geological Survey was even put on the chopping block.  In the midst of this, I was determined to raise the consciousness of our members and others concerning our the plight of our public lands and emphasize how precious they were to us.  In 1995 I conceived the idea of a "Certificate of Deed" to the public lands, to be sold by the Great Basin Group.  We enlisted Nancy Peppin, a local artist, to design the border of the "deed".  This became a colorful collection of forest critters which surrounded the text of the "deed", each of which was personalized with the buyer's name.  The "deed" was sold by the Great Basin Group at a modest price of $5.00, including postage.  The certificates were printed by me using an early, but quite capable, color inkjet printer on heavy page-size paper, suitable for framing.  Advertised in the Toiyabe Trails, they proved to be very popular, and sold especially well before the holidays as presents.  I filled orders not only from our group but from several states and even one from England.  In all over 300 were sold, delivering a good profit to the GBG and, more importantly, a good amount of interest in our public lands.   In the  next  year, we even presented a Certificate of Deed to Senator Harry Reid when we met with him here in his Reno office to discuss various environmental concerns.  The "Deed" is hereTOP

David von Seggern: Camas Lily Hike at Sage Hen Creek, near Truckee, California:  Trailhead:  Parking on east side of Hwy 89, 8 miles north of I-80.  Distance to Stampede Reservoir, about 2 miles on trail, elevation change less than 200 feet.      On June 10, 1994, I and a SC friend first took a short hike down Sagehen Creek which enters Stampede Reservoir on the west side, about 8 miles north of Truckee, California.  As we approached Stampede, I looked to my right into a carpet of blue through the trees.  Turning to my friend, I said "I didn't think there was a pond on this trail".  What I first mistook for a large pond was a meadow filled with flowering Camas Lilies.  We approached in awe of the scale and beauty of it, a sea of deep blue color.  The Camas Lily blooms throughout the northern part of the west, but Sage Hen Creek must surely offer one of the most spectacular displays.  The next year marked my first trip as a outings leader into this beautiful meadow.  I repeated this trip a few times, but it seemed as though the exact date of the full bloom came earlier and earlier and that my planned trip date fell too late to fully enjoy it.  Now, in 2007, I expect the full bloom to be no later than late May, an actual consequence of global warming.  Everyone should make a trip to Sagehen Creek to see this magnificent sight which, regardless of timing, is not losing its glory.  TOP

Bob Gaw (Carson City):  My wife, Jane, and I are great fans of the Sierra and have done considerable backpacking along the John Muir trail in our younger days.  While teaching in the two teacher elementary school at Zephyr Cove from 1954-1957, we became acquainted with Admiral Crenshaw (retired Commandant at the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot), who was the manager of the Whitell Estate including what is now known as Thunderbird Lodge. He was considered an outdoorsman, and his wife Elizabeth (Betty) was an active conservationist and loved the outdoors. Betty and the Admiral became the catalyst for a small group who enjoyed the mountains and were environmentalists in today's lexicon.

In our school work we became acquainted with Joseph Schubert, State Librarian, Nancy and Grace Borderwich, Carson City teachers, Victor Goodwin, USFS Toiyabe District Ranger, and  Sam Houghton . They, along with ourselves and Betty and the Admiral,  explored the idea of becoming a chapter of the Sierra Club. Betty was the true spark who championed the concept of the chapter.

We moved to Berkeley so I could pursue a doctorate.  The official formation of the Toiyabe Chapter came at a later date, which I’m confident was the result of our earlier meetings and discussions. We were, I believe, among the original members of the chapter.

Joy Bridgeman: Chickadees of the Sierras:  Photo Gallery of Chickadees by Bill Kositzky:  January 18, 2004 I led a snowshoe hike just south of Tahoe Meadows. The beautiful views of Lake Tahoe made our uphill trek through the woods well worth the trip. Our destination had another purpose, however; we were there to visit the fearless Mountain Chickadees (Poecile gambeli). For many years, generations of these feathered friends have been eating out of human hands at this location.

Upon our arrival, about a dozen of the little birds began their ritual of visiting us.  We had wild birdseed and sunflower seeds, and in no time they were eating from our hands. It’s a very special experience to have such interaction with wildlife, and to be bird watching, “up close and personal.”Mountain Chickadee ©Bill Kositzky

Chickadees are named for their song, (chick - a -zee-zee-zee) and are known to be easy to tame. They are omnivorous, eating mainly insects, seeds and berries. They hide seeds in the bark of trees (called caches) and return later to retrieve them.  The Chickadees are acrobatic and have specialized leg muscles that allow them to feed hanging upside down on pinecones and seedpods. These social little birds mate for life, and nest in rotting trees. When threatened, they react by what is known as “mobbing,” a group of Chickadees will gather around the intruder and chase, dive bomb, and vocalize vigorously to encourage the enemy to move on.

I hope to encourage people who visit the Mountain Chickadees to be conscious of not adding to their diets unnatural salts and sugars. It’s tempting to share a sandwich with the birds but keep in mind our food may be harmful to them.  Nuts and seeds are best; the Chickadees especially like the black oil sunflower seeds which are easy to get and keep in your backpack.

It is my hope that with awareness and conservation, these remarkable little birds will remain friendly with us for many generations to come. Photo Gallery of Chickadees by Bill Kositzky    TOP

Ursula Wilson-Booth: WeeThump Wilderness Service Trip.  In spring 2006 we participated in a service trip in the WeeThump Wilderness Area.  We cutup and removed an abandoned minibus and also rehabilitated a large illegal vehicle track.  The Nevada Conservation Corps pitched in with great gusto and we had fun -- despite the heavy task.  Bill James used his torch to cut the vehicle into sections.  TOP

Ross Smith: Trip Description Classic: South Warner Summit Trail Backpack:  Road Distance: about 190 miles each way (including a car shuttle of about 30 miles each way).  Trail distance 20 miles with backpack. 3,200 ft elevation gain, 4200 ft. elevation loss. 
• High points: Surprise Valley and the Eastern Scarp of the High Warner Mountains.
• Great views from the Summit Trail
• Beautiful Patterson Lake, North Emerson Lake
• Optional Climbs of Warren Peak and/or Eagle Peak
• Optional visit to South Emerson Lake
• Unique intersection of the California Cascades and the Great Basin
• Little Traveled Wilderness
The highway route is: from Reno travel on I 80 to Wadsworth. Turn North on Route 447 past Gerlach, Nevada to Surprise Valley, California. The Southern terminus of the hike will be the Emerson Creek Campground on Emerson Creek a few miles south of picturesque Eagleville. We might camp overnight here. The car shuttle will be from here north on 447 to the Granger Creek Road and hence to the trailhead near Porter Reservoir.   TOP

Helaine Greenberg: "All’s Well That Ends Well" Sierra Club Holiday Outing:  Eight years ago or so, I was with a Sierra Club X-country ski group that was going to spend New Year’s Eve (with champagne) at the Ludlow Hut on the west shore of Lake Tahoe.  But, as luck would have it (a late start, slow skiers, melted snow and many stream crossings), we were forced to turn back before darkness and the cold descended upon us.  Fortunately, our trip leader saved the day and led us to a toasty brewpub in Tahoe City for tasty eats and soothing libations.  After that, most of the maybe ten people continued to a secret hot springs on a farmer’s ranch somewhere off Highway 89N were we enjoyed a convivial soak under the starry winter night.  The next morning, a few of us welcomed January 1 with a relatively short but challenging hike above Hidden Valley.  In retrospect, the saying “All’s well that ends well” summed up that Sierra Club holiday outing well, I would say.  ©Helaine Greenberg 2006  TOP

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area:  Southern Nevada Group members and Chapter activists worked for years to have the outstanding Red Rock Canyon protected.  The Red Rock Canyon NCA was established in November of 1990 under Public Law 101-621. Its boundaries have been expanded by subsequent Acts of Congress in 1994 and in 1998.  Today the NCA is approximately 196,000 acres and receives over a million visitors a year.  Red Rock Canyon NCA photos are here.  TOP

Marge Sill:  Our celebration of the 50th anniversary (1957-2007) of the Toiyabe Chapter should include some of the victories that the Chapter has achieved during the last half century.  Perhaps the one that involved the most chapter members and was the longest to accomplish was the passage of the Nevada Forest Service Wilderness Bill in 1989.  The effort began in 1964 with the passage of the National Wilderness Act.  Only the Jarbidge in northeastern Elko County was included in wilderness at that time, but those of us who roamed the wild places of the state knew that there were many more areas that deserved and needed wilderness protection.  Many Sierra Club individuals began to put together maps and recommendations for areas they had visited.  Leaders led trips into these areas to inform others of their wild beauty, wildlife, solitude, and magnificent vistas.  The movement grew and finally was made a priority of the Club's California & Nevada Regional Conservation Committee under the leadership of Sally Kabisch, Regional Staff Director.  Sally immediately formed an informal coalition of many groups under the Sierra Club banner to achieve wilderness for Nevada.  Many hearings were held on potential bills in communities such as Ely, Elko, Winnemucca, as well as Reno and Las Vegas.  The rhetoric at these meetings was often intense, and outside agitators were brought in from Idaho and other states to rant against wilderness and to insult wilderness advocates.  It was a time requiring great courage and dedication and a strong conviction that we needed wilderness in Nevada.  At long last, in 1989, a bill for 750,000 acres of wilderness was introduced by Senators Reid and Bryan and Representative Bilbray.  It was only half the acreage that we wanted, but it was a start after a long, hard struggle.  When President George H. Bush signed the bill on December 5, we all felt that we had won a victory.  TOP
Vicki Hoover (National Sierra Club Staff) Chapter responsible for Nevada Wilderness Designations:  The Toiyabe Chapter has been very instrumental in getting all of Nevada's wilderness areas designated!  Longtime Chapter leader Marge Sill was even around in the late 1950's and lobbied then for the original 1969 Wilderness Act that brought us the Jarbidge Wilderness.  She and many other Chapter volunteers worked hard for the 1989 Forest Service Wilderness bill that brought three-quarters of a million acres of Forest Service Wilderness.  Toiyabe Chapter volunteers also worked hard and effectively for the 2000 bill for the Black Rock - High Rock Canyon Wilderness and Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area and the 2002 new wilderness areas (half a million acres) right here in Clark County and the 2004 areas -- lots and lots -- in Lincoln County and the newest protected areas (2006) in White Pine County!  The Chapter also helped get Great Basin National Park designated.  Marge Sill lead the way.   TOP

JAKE HIGHTON: Political ads bamboozle:   Advertising is always a dubious path to the truth. But political advertising is a pack of lies-- and even damned lies. Anyone who votes on the basis of political ads is probably voting for a prevaricator.  As another election cycle heats up, voters are being bombarded by fantasy and not fact, distortion rather than truth, ads that have nothing to do with the issues and qualifications.  The New York Times calls such ads “a jarring blend of shadowy images, breathless announcers, jagged music and a dizzying array of statistics, counterstatistics and vote citations, all intended to present the members of Congress and their challengers in the worst possible light.”  This dreadful situation was skewered locally by Cory Farley, Reno Gazette-Journal columnist. He wrote:  “Watching Sen. John Ensign’s emerald-hued campaign ads on television, you might think you’ve been privileged to witness the resurrection of John Muir. Lake Tahoe sparkles in the sunlight. A crystalline Truckee River flows past the camera. A narrator and text on the screen bear down heavily on words like ‘protect’ and ‘preserve.’ ’’ Wow! Ensign is greener than the Sierra Club.  Yet the truth is otherwise. The Nevada senator gets a 20 percent rating from the nonpartisan League of Conservation Voters, “among the worst in Congress.” (N.B.: Rep. Jim Gibbons, candidate for governor, is even worse on the LCV scale: zero.)  This item first appeared in the Sparks Tribune, Oct. 5, 2006. Highton of Reno is a lifetime member of the Sierra Club.   TOP