in this issue

Annual Sierra Club Retreat
Nature Notes
October on the Farm
Outings and Events
Statewide Group Notes
Pinhoti Challenge Hikes

Feedback Please

Please let us know what you think of the changing nature of our newsletter. Next month is scheduled to be the last print version of the newsletter. We've redesigned the newsletter this month to provide a more website friendly version. Next month, you'll receive a print version and that will also be available online. Beginning with the December 2009 issue of the newsletter, we'll be providing you with information formatted more for the web--with your feedback as a critical part of the final design. Please let us know! Please contact Chair John Ackerman: or



rosa mine proposed on Locust Forkby Lawrence Rives
As this article goes to press, the fate of another Alabama river hangs in the balance. A,Canadian high-risk venture capital company plans to auger-mine a 3000 acre section adjoining the Locust Fork River in North Alabama.   As mining companies always do, McCoal promises to be a good neighbor and not allow any toxins, sedimentation or siltation to enter the river from their operations. In fact, they say they will put the land back better than they found it. And the Alabama Department of  Environmental Management takes them at their word. On September 15,  the Alabama Surface Mining Commission will hear concerns from the general public and those whose properties will be most directly impacted by this project. After this hearing, ASMC will decide whether to permit the mining operation. In almost all cases, permission is a given.

In concert with the national Sierra Club initiative to take Big Coal to task for its disregard of the environment, the Coosa Valley group has chosen to support The Friends of the Locust Fork River in their efforts to prevent damage to the watershed. This particular stretch of the river has  recently begun to show signs of recovery from  strip-mining in the 1970's. This was prior to the Clean Water Act and the river and its flora and fauna were dealt a serious (and in some cases fatal) blow. Our feelings are summed up in the phrase " Not in my backyard..Again!"

In August we appealed to the state Chapter for help in securing legal counsel to make sure existing laws are enforced to protect our land and water. They, in turn, have presented our cause to the national leadership. Now we ask for your help. First, familiarize yourself with the issue by going  on-line to Then contact our national office  by email, letter, or phone so that we may at least establish some precedent for resistance to environmentally destructive mining operations in Alabama.

Write to: Bruce Niles, Sierra Club 85 Second St, San Francisco, CA 9410
Email: Phone: Bruce Niles at (415) 977-5500

In many ways, Big Coal is treating Alabama as a sacrifice zone. When TVA had a big coal ash spill in Tennessee, where did they send the toxic sludge? Alabama, of course. With our efforts, we hope to change the public attitude of passive acceptance to one of active resistance. Join us and stay tuned....


by John Ackerman
Green entrepreneurs and innovators are tearing up conventional, old-fashioned ways of doing business and setting new standards for green, clean, and sustainable plans, processes, and designs.  There are many potential examples, I am only going to discuss a few but challenge each of you to search out more and share them with your friends.  So, let’s look at Engineers Without Borders, robot farmhands, solar energy in Ethiopia, and the coming RIY movement. more>>>

Annual Retreat: November 6, 7, 8.
Shocco Springs • Talladega, Alabama

Our speaker list includes:
• Dr. Joyce Lanning from the Climate Project
• Joe Cuhaj, author of A Guide to Alabama’s Greatest Hiking Adventures
• Jim Lacefield, paleobiologist and author of Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks: A Guide
• Dave Lindon, the  City of Hoover’s Biofuel program
• Jay Hudson, teacher and guide for the Pinhoti trail challenge
• David Pope, director of Southern Environmental Law Center


Don't miss a change to really get outside, meet like-minded folks and reconnect with old friends. Come join us on the trail, in the water or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>

October on the Farm

October on the Farm: Vineyards in Alabamaby Peggie Griffin
Now that we’ve  eaten the last of our summer squash, peas, cucumbers, and okra, I’m looking forward to those cool weather veggies.  At the time I am writing this column, I have young  beets, spinach, turnip greens, Romaine lettuce, kale, broccoli, and cabbage plants in my garden.  I hope by the time you are reading this article that I will begin to harvest some of these delicious veggies. more>>>

Pinhoti Challenge Hikes are back!

by Jay Hudson
With the weather cooling off again, summer behind us, and the fall leaves turning, we are once again resuming our Pinhoti Challenge hikes.  Normally on the 3rd weekend of each month, we are starting off October right with two hikes – one on the second weekend (10/10) and another on the fourth weekend (10/31)! more>>>

Notes from Around Alabama's Sierra Club Groups

From Bears in the South Cumberland, Roadside Spraying in Alabama, and Members of the Mobile Bay Group participating in the annual Coastal Cleanup, find out what's happening with Sierra Club Groups all around the state! more>>>