Our Delta Chapter Fall Retreat begins on Friday, October 28, 2016

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All are welcome to attend the Sierra Club Delta Chapter Fall Retreat which begins on Friday, October 28, 2016! We will be enjoying the beautiful Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain throughout the weekend. Sunsets will happen about 6:30 p.m., so we are welcoming campers to the retreat from 4:00 p.m. Friday onward to allow you time to explore in the early evening.

Our fun weekend is housed at the CCC constructed Fontainebleau Group Camp, which is just over 6 miles from the north end of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway bridge. The Group Camp entrance is about a half mile east of the main park entrance on Hwy 190, the old Covington-Slidell highway.

For just $55 for the entire weekend you’ll enjoy all meals and the camaraderie of fellow Sierrans in a gorgeous autumn in the pines of the Northshore. Enjoy a bunk house atmosphere (separate male and female / female bunkhouse has fully handicapped accessible baths) for a good sleep after full days of activities. We’ll have meetings and fun and food in the meeting hall, and songs and storytelling around the campfire pit after dinner. All meals are provided through Sunday’s breakfast, although the Friday night meal is pot luck for sides/desserts with the main course provided by the Club. Meals will offer variety and choices for the non-omnivorous eater.

Saturday, October 29, 2016 starts with an optional early morning hike or bike ride on the 31-mile long Tammany Trace, which runs right through the Group Camp, and then breakfast from 7:00 - 9:00. Be sure to pack your bikes and boats for this Retreat!

Starting off the day, we’ll move over into the Park itself for a trip into the past of Fontainebleau, home of Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, a French-Creole American nobleman, playboy, planter, politician, duelist, writer, land developer, and president of the Louisiana Senate between 1822 and 1823. Ranger Richard Scott will give us a private tour of the museum (which is closed for repairs), the sugar mill ruins, and a history of the Acolapissa, Native Americans who built prehistoric mounds on the property.

Later in the day we’ll have reports on Sierran activities around the state, and at lunch a chance to have EV cars available for test drives in the Group Camp area. We’ve scheduled in lots of free time to enjoy the Park and its beauty, while still giving you some info on how and where the Club is involved in local, state and national actions and other interesting environmental happenings in Louisiana. The Northlake Nature Center is also just down the road, with beautiful boardwalks winding through its cypress swamps.

After dinner we look forward to an evening by the campfire, and ask that all talented individuals bring their guitars, harmonicas, and other instruments to make our October evenings musical.

On Sunday morning, we may have another pre-breakfast hike or bike ride, and following the wrap up of business at 11:00, we are offering an Extra-Curricular Activity! Meet at the Cane Bayou canoe put-in on the western side of the Park (close to Mandeville), at 11:30 for a canoe trip thru the marshes to Lake Pontchartrain, led by Sierran Outings Leader Chad Almquist. Free if you bring your own float, or discounted canoes are only $15/person ($30/canoe) for Sierra Club members.

Detailed info about Fontainebleau State Park with map link is at:

From the Causeway Toll Bridge, take Hwy 190 east/East Causeway Approach. Drive approximately 5.5 miles through Mandeville on Hwy 190. Just past the main Park entrance is the Group Camp III entrance (both are on the right). GPS Coordinates for the Group Camp: 30.333937, -90.010334
From I-12, take exit 65/Hwy 59 S. Drive south 3.5 miles on Hwy 59 to the intersection with Hwy 190 (Florida St.). Turn left onto Hwy 190. Drive east about 2.5 miles to the Group Camp III entrance (past Park entrance).

Tent or RV camping onsite at Group Camp III - $8/meal
Saturday night group shelter space and food - $45 (includes Saturday lunch, dinner and Sunday breakfast)
Full weekend - Friday & Saturday nights in group shelter with all meals - $55
Please pay when you arrive. Paying guests, including non-Sierrans, are welcome!
Feel free to bring snack foods or special foods & drinks (especially if you’re a selective eater or if you have allergies) and personal supplies. There will be some vegetarian/vegan choices on the menus.
Fontainebleau does NOT provide linens! Please bring a sleeping bag and/or sheets/pillow/blanket (it could be chilly!) and towels. There are two smaller rooms off the meeting hall for couples who would prefer being together - these are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information or to RSVP (please do so that we can estimate food needs), or write Margie at margie.vicknair-pray@sierraclub.org .

Update, this just in:
Become a certified Sierra Club Outings Leader! The Delta Chapter’s Outings Leader Training will be held in conjunction with our Delta Chapter Retreat on Saturday, October 29, 2016. Anyone who wants to lead Sierra Club outings of any type should attend this training. This includes youth and urban outings as well as hikes, canoe trips, bike trips, etc.

Each participant in the training will qualify as a certified Outings Leader for the Sierra Club, meaning that they can lead outings that are covered by SC insurance and that can be advertised with other Chapters. The training will include basic First Aid for outings. Our national Sierra Club trainer is Rocky Milburn from the Florida Chapter.

The training is free of charge but advance sign up is required! Participants completing the training will be asked to follow up by conducting at least one, and hopefully many, outings for Sierra Club Delta Chapter. The Training will be held during the Chapter Retreat at Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, LA. Please register for full details!

Training will be a full day - 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and part of the training will be outdoors. Lunch will be provided. If you attend the entire Retreat ($55 - Fri-Sat night and all meals thru breakfast Sun), the training is included. If you come Saturday and stay for the rest of the Retreat, there will be a charge of $30 for overnight accommodations, dinner and breakfast.

For questions, or to sign up for the session please send an email to margie.vicknair-pray@sierraclub.org with “Outings Training” in the subject line.

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