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Fri.-Sun., Nov. 18-20, 2011
@ Camp McDowell,
105 Delong Rd, Nauvoo, AL
hosted by the
West Alabama Sierra Group

Slow Poke Hike in the Walls of Jericho

There was a good mix of people and canines (Tyler and Paco); ages varied from the teens to the sixties with an even balance of genders.  We hiked comfortably down to the valley and back into the canyon taking our time to enjoy and photograph the scenery and sinkholes.  Once in the canyon, folks crossed Turkey Creek and hiked at their leisure.  I opted to sit on the bank with Tyler and ice water my knee. 

On the way out, we broke into various paced groups and made the ascent to the parking lot.  Billy, Tyler, and I were the last ones up. We welcomed the "rest rocks" and "leisure” logs along the way, and spent some time at a spring Billy knew about where we filled our  bottles and enjoyed the cool, sweet water.

I'm sore today as is Tyler.  He got up once this morning to go out and eat then stayed in bed until around 1 PM.  He's moving kind of slow but then so am I.

I'll be leading a Slow Poke Hike the first Sunday of each month through October.  Hope you'll be able to join us.  It's a great way to meet new people, safely challenge yourself, and enjoy the outdoors.  Happy Trails!
-       Debra Wonder

'My Pace' Thursday Night Hikes

Want to check out the trails and sights of Monte Sano at a more social pace?  If you want to stretch your legs, 'smell the flowers,' and not work up too much of a sweat (humidity doesn't count!), then this is the hike for you.  We'll start with the Fire Tower Trail. Watch the newsletter for dates, (as this isn't weekly), and meeting locations.  We will leave the Monte Sano State Park Hiker's parking lot at 5:30pm sharp. Wear good hiking shoes and bring water, snacks, bug spray, a few bucks for the entrance fee and stories for the trail.  T-Storm cancels. For more info, contact Sandy at
-       Sandy Kiplinger

Learn about the many great Sierra Club outings here.

North Alabama Sierra Now on Facebook

The North Alabama Sierra Club now has a Facebook page. Among other things, this allows hike leaders to post last minute updates about hikes if the weather is questionable. It will also allow Sierra Club members to communicate more easily about outings and environmental issues in the area. Check us out!
- The North Alabama Sierra Club

Flint River Splash for Trash in June

It's time again for the Flint River Cleanup. Join FRCA on Saturday morning, June 4, for a half- day float trip on the Flint River to collect tires, appliances, and other cast-offs ("off" the bridges mostly), and join us for a repast afterward at Artisans Cove. Since the river is clogged with trees in a couple of places, we won't know at which river-Publix (Hampton Cove or Winchester Road) we will meet until closer to the event. Volunteers should be at the meeting place by 9:00am. If interested, we will need $30 per canoe if we rent them, or you may bring your own canoe or kayak.

Not a paddler?? That is fine, as we have groups of "Landlubbers" that clean up at bridge crossings. Registration for this event is required. Please call Soos at 256-509-1219 or Susan Thomas at 256-776-3756 for registration or information.

Groups all over the country are cleaning up rivers and coastline at this time as a part of the National River Cleanup sponsored by American Rivers. In 2010, 60,000 volunteers at more than 300 sites cleaned 6,000 miles of waterway and removed over 2 million pounds of trash. Come do your part in North Alabama.
- Soos Weber, North Alabama Sierra Club


Long-time Sierra Club activist and outings leader Jay Hudson Passed Away on Tuesday at the age of 42

Long time Sierra Club member, hike leader and all around friend of the earth Jay Hudson died suddenly at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon of a pulmonary embolism.

Funeral will be at 11 am, Friday, June 10th, Radney Smith Funeral Home, 320 N. Elm, Sylacauga, AL. Viewing begins at 9. Internment will follow service in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, also in Sylacauga.  

From his brother, Jeff Hudson, on Facebook: Thank you all so much for the posts. My family is heart broken for a brother, son, uncle to be gone so soon. Jay suffered a pulmonary embolism tue at approx. 3:30pm while standing in the parking deck at St Vincents Hospital. We are told he went suddenly and hopfully without suffering. Furneral arrangements have been made for Fri June 10th at 11am, Radney Smith Furneral Home (320 N Elm St Sylacauga) with a viewing starting at 9am. Interment will be at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery (Talladega Hwy, Sylacauga) following his service.

In Leiu of flowers, a memorial fund has been established. You can send a check to Bumpus Middle School with the Jay Hudson Memorial written in memo line. If enough funds are raised, the school will build a hiking trail on the school grounds and name it the Jay Hudson Memorial Trail. What better way to honor Jay.

For the Jay Hudson Memorial, checks should be made payable to Bumpus Middle School with Jay Hudson Memorial written in memo line of check. Checks should be mailed to Bumpus Middle School, Attn: Jay Hudson Memorial, 1730 Lake Cyrus Drive, Hoover, AL 35244.

Please check back here in the coming days for a tribute to Jay--mainly coming from his many, many outings and his deep passion for the Pinhoti Trail and the outings he led along Alabama's longest trail.

West Alabama Sierra Club Outing to Oakmulgee District, Talladega National Forest

Even though this outing was centered on the Red-cockaded Woodpecker, which is nesting in the decaying wood of a Longleaf pine tree in the forest, members only caught short glimpses of the woodpecker. But it was clear that in one particular plug-in there was a nest. It was the pine that was coated in the most sap. Sap is a deterrent to the predatory grey rat snake. (from John Earl, West Alabama Sierra Club)

Chill Out on Monte Sano

The Sierra Club of North Alabama presents "Chill-Out on the Mountain," a day of spirited adventure, good eats, and great company at Monte Sano State Park. Saturday, June 18. Starting at 7:45 a.m. for those adventurers fast of foot, Charlie will lead a strenuous hike through McKay's Hollow et al. If you'd like to sleep in a few extra minutes, join Sandy at 8:30 a.m. for a moderate hike in a different section of the park.

After feasting on Chili and other culinary, dutch-oven type delights, Doug will lead an easy hike. And if you don't want to hike but kick back, socialize, and enjoy the outdoors, lunch will be served at approximately 12:00 p.m. at the Small Pavilion.

To cover the cost of food, which includes regular and vegetarian chili, sides, dessert and assorted drinks, for age 7 years plus, there will be a non-refundable fee of $5.00. 6 years and under eat for free.
An RSVP is required for lunch. Call 1-888-296-8577 and then send your check/money order payable to North Alabama Sierra Club, to P.O. Box 1893, Huntsville, AL 35807-0893, post-marked no later than June 14. 'Door' prizes available. For your seating comfort, a lawn chair is recommended. Be sure to check out our Face Book page for any updates! Torrential rain storm cancels :(
- Sandy Kiplinger, North Alabama Sierra Club

Obama Administration Announces New Clean Water Protection Policy

Washington, DC: On April 27, the Obama administration announced a new proposal to secure clean water and protect American's drinking water sources. The guidance on the scope of Clean Water Act protections comes after years of confusion stemming from misguided policies initiated by the previous administration that put millions of acres of wetlands and a majority of the nation's stream miles at risk of pollution and destruction.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.

"The proposed clean water protection policy will go a long way to helping make clean water a reality for families across the country. The move to clarify protections for small streams and wetlands will be especially beneficial, as these important waters provide drinking water to 117 million Americans.

Clarifying the scope of the Clean Water Act to ensure protections for the nation's waters has been a Sierra Club priority for almost a decade. After years of losing waters because of policies favoring polluters and developers, we're pleased to see that many of the small streams and wetlands that provide drinking water, flood control, filtration, and habitat for fish and wildlife will again enjoy clear protections.

The guidelines proposed today would conform federal policy to scientific reality: it's impossible to safeguard rivers and lakes downstream without protecting the small, headwater streams that feed them.

This policy will help ensure that everyone can enjoy clean water. We look forward to working with the administration on a rulemaking to help strengthen and solidify this policy. Ultimately however, Congress needs to restore the scope of the Clean Water Act as it existed before the court decisions to ensure the historically broad protections of our waters. Until Congress acts, some waters that provide important benefits to people and wildlife are likely to remain unprotected."


Flawed interpretations of Supreme Court decisions resulted in 2003 and 2008 policies denying Clean Water Act protections for intermittent and seasonal streams and wetlands. These policies require federal agencies to examine each stretch of a headwater stream individually, and prove that each one in isolation affects the health of downstream rivers, lakes and coastal waters. They ignore language in Justice Kennedy's decision and the reality that the small streams and wetlands within a watershed collectively determine the health of downstream navigable waters. As a result, since 2003, federal policy has not clearly protected these waters, and some have been polluted with oil spills and waste discharges, while others have been filled in to allow for new development.

Submitted by David Newton

A Book of Interest

The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America's Environment, Security and Independence
by Michael J. Graetz
The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
369 pages (2011)

Author Graetz, a legal academic currently at Columbia University, has written extensively on social, health, and income tax policies.  As the title of his latest book suggests, he provides an extensive discussion of our efforts to deal with energy issues over recent decades.

A summary of this book is provided by the author in the prologue:
"This book is about the problems, policies, and politics of energy in America, beginning with the crises of the 1970s, the varied responses to which continue to shape our current predicaments.  It is about all the major forms of energy--oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind--and how government's attempts to control and decontrol, subsidize and command, legislate and repeal over the past four decades have produced a system and economy of energy production and consumption that fails to well serve our needs or those of our environment.  The book is, then, in one sense a story of failure, but a story from which a great deal may be learned about how our democratic society might go about making better decisions for its energy future."

Graetz Included a brief section on "Key Energy Data," a chronology of significant energy issues, and a rather extensive chapter-by-chapter bibliographic essay.  These sections are useful for readers who want more details.

Submitted by David Newton

New Interpretive Center for Monte Sano

Monte Sano State Park would like the endorsement of conservation groups that utilize the park for hiking, biking, or other pursuits. The Flint River Conservation Association is writing a grant on behalf of the Park to refurbish the CCC Gate House at the Scenic Overlook, to make it into a small Interpretive Center. The historic building will stay intact with no additions except for a bike rack, exhibits, lighting, and a parking area for the handicapped. This CCC structure has been unused for 60 years.
The proposal would provide park visitors information about the trails, birding, geology, ecology, and history of Monte Sano. Groups could have their events posted there to boost participation/membership.
Please contact Soos Weber at 256-509-1219 if your group would provide a letter of endorsement. Endorsements may also be mailed to1623 Monte Sano Blvd, Huntsville, AL 35801.
- Soos Weber, North Alabama Sierra Club

Sierra Club Outings

Summer is here!!! Go paddling with friends, clear away some honeysuckle, take a great hike! Or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues! Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>

Invitation to Review Oakmulgee District Timber Plan

Please find below an Invitation to Review our proposal to salvage damaged timber on the Talladega National Forest, Oakmulgee District resulting from the recent tornados. Your comments are important to us and I welcome your thoughts.

2011 Tornado Damage - Clary Hill Salvage 2011 Tornado Damage – Pine Flat Salvage

Cynthia Ragland
Talladega National Forest-Oakmulgee District