Board Member, Friends of the Front Range Wildlife Refuges
Louis X. “Kip” Cheroutes For over 40 years Kip Cheroutes has been turning war-era munitions sites along Colorado’s Front Range into successful wildlife habitats. Starting in 1978 Cheroutes began as a legislative assistant to U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo). At a time when the U.S. Army’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal made and stored WETEYE nerve gas bombs close to active Stapleton Airport runways, Cheroutes was tasked by Schroeder to “fix it”. For the next 18 years Cheroutes drafted and implemented her policy to move the bombs and advance the subsequent 27-square mile Superfund cleanup. He was first to propose what became the 1991 law to turn the arsenal into a national wildlife refuge, ending the debate about cleanup standards and ultimate land use. He also wrote law to channel cleanup funds from polluter Shell Oil, an Arsenal tenant, directly to the site. The new refuge law became the model for the remediation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rocky Flats, which produced plutonium triggers during the cold war. After Schroeder, Cheroutes became a consultant to stakeholders in and around the emerging refuge. He coordinated planning related to drainage, transportation, open space and trails. The objective was to optimally integrate wildlife habitat into the region. Cheroutes joined the non-profit Friends Group in 2013 to help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service accommodate the quickly growing number of visitors and teach outdoor education to the diverse student population that lives close by. A Denver native, Kip received his BA in political science from the University of Colorado. He also studied senior government management from Harvard University’s Ken
Louis is speaking at
(6:30 a.m. departure, $45 fee, lunch included)
Coloradans once looked on the weapons plants at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, which manufactured nerve gas, and the Rocky Flats nuclear bomb factory with pride. They were huge economic boons for the region during World War II and the Cold War. Decades of spills, fires and other environmental crimes changed all that, leaving a legacy of distrust and releases of radionuclides and other industrial by-products in their wake. Our day will begin with a bus tour of the Arsenal, with expert speakers discussing the massive cleanup effort that led to the opening of the site as refuge for bison, the endangered black-footed ferret and more than 300 other species of animals. We can’t leave the Arsenal without a stop at the National Wildlife Property Repository, which houses 1.3 million items recovered from wildlife traffickers. After lunch, we’ll drive over to Rocky Flats for an optional one-hour hike and an overview of the former nuclear weapons plant’s history, the controversial remediation efforts that followed its closure and the public health concerns that remain (the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have certified the whole refuge as safe for visitors). Total drive time: 3 hours. Good for those looking for some exercise.
Advance registration is required for all Thursday tours. Attendance on each tour is strictly limited, so registering early is important. All Thursday tours will return to the Lory Student Center at about 5:00 p.m.
IMPORTANT DEPARTURE INFORMATION: Please meet your tour leaders near the SEJ registration desk on the third floor of the Lory Student Center at the listed departure time to check-in for your tour. Eat breakfast at your hotel before arrival or plan to purchase breakfast at the Lory Student Center food court, which opens at 7:00 a.m.; coffee and snacks will be provided for tours that depart before the food court opens. Each tour will leave the ballroom as a group to board buses at a nearby location. Do not be late.
DocumentsColorado Encyclo. RF article for sej.pdf
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