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Greg Sievers Receives 2010 Conservation Award

Posted on: April 26th, 2011 by Intern

Greg Sievers—AAC Central Rockies Section Chair from 1997 to 2007—was awarded the 2010 Conservation Award by the Access Fund and CLIF Bar. This award honors Sievers’ long-standing leadership in organizing the Annual Lumpy Trails Day, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. This year, Lumpy Trails Day produced 60 volunteers, 413 hours of work, and over 500 vertical feet of improved approach trails. Over the course of his ten years leading the event, Lumpy Trails Day has seen 560 participants, 4,400 hours of service, 5,000 vertical feet of improved approach trails, and over 700 steps installed.

In an e-mail message about the Conservation award, Greg writes: “Thanks to all of you that have made this all possible over the decade! Its nice to also acknowledge our growing partnership with the NPS, their staff, and the Estes Park community, as well as all the volunteers and climbers that have made this annual project so successful. Please accept my gratitude and thanks. And we’ll want to remember Chris Pruchnic and Rod Willard who are no longer with us, but have been instrumental in the success of Lumpy Trails Day.”

Sievers has been an active member of the climbing community for decades. He cut his teeth climbing in Alaska in the mid 1980’s, and joined the AAC in 1985.  In 1987, Sievers moved to Estes Park, Colorado. A decade later, he was nominated to the Central Rockies Section Chair by good friend, climbing partner, and past Board of Directors member Steve Davis of Eagle River, Alaska.

In 2004, the American Alpine Club presented Sievers with the Angelo Heilprin Award, given annually to that person who has shown exemplary service to the club, maintained and strengthened the organization, and furthered the club’s ability to serve its fundamental purposes.

AAC Executive Director Phil Powers calls Greg “one of the most dedicated volunteers ever to have been associated with the AAC.”

Sievers joined the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Alpine Club during a major organizational shift. The Section was originally comprised of 6 states, but in 1996, the Board of Directors divided the Section in half for easier management. Sievers consequently chaired the new Central Rockies Section, while Doug Colwell took over the new Northern Rockies Section.

During his first year, Sievers started a bi-annual Newsletter and an annual Section Banquet that raised over $4,000 for the Club. He began attending regional events in an effort to promote the AAC and to generate good fellowship between climbers and land managers. He sat on the original ad-hoc Huts Committee, and soon went on to chair that committee for 5 years, recruiting such notable huts as Bison Willy’s Bunkhouse in Cody, WY, the Colorado Mountain School in Estes Park, and the Tuthilltown at the Gunks in New Paltz, NY. He also helped organize and invigorate the 14 Section Chairpersons at many AAC Annual Meetings, and worked with AAC staff to get the Section email system up and running.  Sievers’ Section received much needed support from Linda McMillan.

One of Sievers’ most visible actions with the AAC was in 2001, when he unified a local climber’s coalition that opposed the National Park Service’s plan to close the historic dirt climbers’ parking lot near the Twin Owls, at Lumpy Ridge in Estes Park, Colorado. He worked with then Congressman Mark Udall’s office to review the access and use rights of the NPS to close the parking lot. While the coalition failed to prevent the closure of the parking lot, they were successful in getting a “stay of execution” for 3 years.The new paved parking lot at Lumpy Ridge was opened in the summer of 2006. Sievers’ efforts netted him the 2002 Sharp End Award from the Access Fund “for leadership and activism in preserving climbing access and the climbing environment.”

Sievers was a regular attendee and supporter of the young Ouray Ice Festival, the International Climbers Festival in Lander, and the fledgling Cody Ice Festival. He held fundraisers for the dZi Foundation; sponsored local AAC member attendance to the Bulgarian Alpine Club festival; helped local AAC members become seat-holders on the Eldorado Fixed Hardware Review Committee and Action Committee for Eldorado; and was a liaison to the Boulder Ice Climbers Coalition. He also created and sold a line of embroidered AAC Section garments like shirts, jackets, vests, and hats.

In 2007, Sievers started organizing the backcountry management of human waste with the Rocky Mountain National Park staff. The NPS was already formulating ideas when Sievers constructed the first ‘Bag Box’—an oak dispenser filled with Restop bags. The following year, two Bag Boxes were installed in RMNP (one at the Lumpy Ridge trailhead, and one at the Chasm Meadows Patrol Cabin on Longs Peak).  In 2010, the AAC provided a venue to the Exit Strategies Conference, and Sievers presented his Bag Box as one of the guest speakers.

The idea for Lumpy Trails Day came in 2000. In his thirteen years of climbing in the area, Sievers had seen the braided social trails at the crag become badly eroded. Access Fund Executive Director Sally Moser embraced Sievers, and helped him learn grass-roots organizing. The Trail Day was developed as a partnership between the Access Fund and the American Alpine Club, and the annual project has since generated a strong relationship between the AAC and Rocky Mountain National Park staff.

In 2010, Sievers created the Lumpy Ridge Climbers Reunion in celebration of the ten-year mark of Lumpy Trails Day. He combined the events into a weekend affair.  This year, he hosted 5 gear manufacturers for demos at the new parking lot, and the Colorado Mountain School (CMS) offered free crack and off-width climbing clinics.  The dinner party and slide show venue were a great success and saw many Lumpy climbers of three decades in attendance.

The Staff of the Colorado Mountain School will be taking over for the 2011 project, details TBA. There will be a moment of silence held for the late Chris Pruchnic.

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