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West Virginia Sierra Club Chapter Outings Calendar for Spring/Summer 2010

Sierra Club outings are open to everyone, members and non-members alike.  Each outing is intended to be a wholesome, safe, and enjoyable experience in the outdoors.  Participants must have suitable clothing, gear, and stamina, and are encouraged to select activities that match their individual abilities for outdoor adventures.  The Club offers a variety of outings from “easy” to “moderate” to“strenuous” that suit all activity levels. The difficulty of each outing is clearly designated in the announcement.  Reservations are generally not required unless noted, but the outing leader may be contacted in advance for questions about the terrain, the difficulty and recommended gear.  Activities are normally held “rain or shine,” but may be postponed at the leader’s discretion for safety reasons in the event of inclement weather.  Participants are reminded that all outdoor activities carry a degree of risk, and some take place in locations where professional emergency medical aid may be two or more hours away.  People with health concerns should consult a physician to determine the advisability of participating in these or similar activities.  The leader is responsible for the safety of all participants, and has the final authority to decide whether or not an individual may participate on a specific outing.  Sierra Club safety policy requires that helmets be worn on bicycling outings, and a personal flotation device (PFD) be worn when using personal watercraft such as kayaks or canoes.

Unless noted in the announcement, Club outings are intended for adults.  Children and dogs are not normally permitted, unless an outing is so designated.  Minors (under 18 years of age) must be accompanied by a parent or a legal guardian, or they must have both 1) a signed permission slip, and 2) the leader’s prior consent to participate in the Club outing.  Sierra Club outings officially begin and end at the trailhead.  Travel to the official starting point and back, even from an advertised meeting place, is the sole responsibility of each participant. While the Club encourages car-pooling, such arrangements are strictly between the riders and the drivers, and are not a part of the outing.  Participants assume full responsibility and liability for all risks associated with such travel. 

All participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver, which can be viewed on the web at http://www.sierraclub.org/outings/chapter/forms/index.asp.  The Sierra Club does not charge for chapter outings, although payment of park entrance fees, a share of campsite rental costs, permit fees, equipment rental charges, etc. may be required from the participants.  The Sierra Club practices “leave-no-trace” trail techniques, including hiking and camping on durable surfaces, minimizing campfire impacts, packing out all trash, respecting wildlife, being considerate of other visitors, and leaving the environment as it was found.  The Sierra Club's California Seller of Travel identification number is CST 2087766-40.  Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

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Abbreviations Used

AMC:              Appalachian Mountain Club

AT:                  Appalachian Trail

GWNF:            GeorgeWashingtonNational Forest

JNF:                 Jefferson National Forest

MG:                 Monongahela Group

MNF:               MonongahelaNational Forest

NPS:                National Park Service

NRA:               National Recreation Area

NWR:              National Wildlife Refuge

PFD:                Personal Flotation Device (lifejacket)

SF:                   State Forest

SP:                   State Park

SNP:                Shenandoah National Park

 

Become a Leader

This is my first outings calendar for the Mountain State Sierran newsletter and website.  An employment opportunity brought me to West Virginia last summer, and at the urging of Nate Parr, I have agreed to take over as the outings chair for the West Virginia Chapter. 

I bring some experience to the position.  I was chapter outings chair in Delaware from 1999 to 2003, and chapter outings chair in Maryland from 2004 to 2009.  I also served on the national Sierra Club Outdoor Activity Governance Committee from 2005-2008 as chair of the Local Outings Support Committee.  Each chapter is different, yet similar.  When I took over in Delaware, it had an inactive outings program that needed rebuilding, requiring me to be an outings chair, outings leader, and outings participant.  On the other hand, Maryland had an active outings program run at the group level, and the chapter outings chair job was more like a coordinator.  West Virginia is like Delaware in that it could use some outings program development, but there are a number of people here who are interested in being active leaders, which was lacking in Delaware.

So what does it take to become a Sierra Club outings leader?  It’s actually pretty easy, and only requires 4 things: 1) a legal adult who is an active (dues paid) member of the Sierra Club, 2) successful completion of the Sierra Club Outings Leader Training class, either OLT101 or the more advanced OLT201, 3) current first aid certification equivalent to or better than Red Cross Basic, and 4) lead one outing as a provisional leader.  This last requirement can be waived by the chapter outings chair if the person has obvious experience.  I will be running some OLT101 classes this spring, or you can take it online through the Sierra Club outings website: http://clubhouse.sierraclub.org/outings/training/intro/olt101/wbt/index.asp.  The first aid training can be obtained at any local Red Cross, and the chapter will reimburse the cost if needed once a leader schedules and leads an outing.  Contact me for details.

What kind of outings can you lead?  Well, just about anything.  I always tell leaders to choose an activity they would do anyway, like a favorite hike or bike ride.  When the leader enjoys an outing, the participants will have more fun.  And if the turnout is a bit on the low side, the leader will still enjoy the activity, because it was something he or she was going to do anyway.  I think offering a variety of outings will help build up an outings program, so please send me suggestions.  Outings can be related to conservation issues, or be educational in nature, or just plain fun.  Day trip outings can be led after completing OLT101.  Overnight backpacks or float trips away from vehicles require the more advanced OLT201 training.

We’re a little sparse on the number of outings offered this spring, but I hope to build this up as we bring in new leaders with new ideas.  West Virginia is a fabulous place for outdoor activities, and our outings program can be one of the best.  I fully understand that outings aren’t for everyone, and if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s okay.  But for those of us who do enjoy the outdoors, please participate, and please consider becoming a leader. 

Thanks.  I’ll see you outside.

-         Dan

Daniel J. Soeder, Past WV Chapter outings chair


Contact the New Outings chair, Russ Flowers via email at russwvu@yahoo.com

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Sierra Club Maryland Chapter Outings

Our neighboring chapter to the east has an active outings program, with many trips coming into West Virginia and western Maryland.  These outings, by highly experienced leaders, range from easy to strenuous, and are open to everyone.  Join an outing by checking out their calendar at http://maryland.sierraclub.org/calendar/.

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Sierra Club Potomac Region Outings (PRO)

This is an activity section of the Sierra Club Virginia Chapter, with an extensive outings program run by leaders who live in and around the Washington, D.C. area.  A calendar of activities, information and updates can be found on their website (http://www.sierrapotomac.org/ ).

   
   

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