Yes, the Sierra Club means different things to different people. There are many members who are environmental activists. Then there are the rest of us who are just outdoors people, and we don't get involved so much in the politics. Within the Sierra Club, there are local geographic chapters. For example, one chapter covers San Mateo, Santa Clara, and San Benito counties. Within each chapter, there are some of the activists, and then also there are activity groups. For examples, there is a Ski Touring Section, a Backpacking Section, etc. You just need to get hooked up with the correct bunch of people, both by geography and by ideology.
"I drove Tioga Pass recently and I can't imagine doing those first 5 miles or so to the entrance of the park...WOW, that looks like it would be a workout going up and scary coming down."
Well, I'm not sure where you are going or coming. On the last trip, we drove from Lee Vining west to the gate and parked. We went from there up to Tioga Pass Resort for an overnight, then on up to the pass and down to Tuolumne Meadows for a couple of nights. Absolutely none of that route had any problem except for some hideous exposure if you got too close to the cliff edge. The TPR staff hauled our overnight packs up by snowmobile. Alas, TPR closed for winter operations, I believe, although that might change.
The entrance office to the Tuolumne Meadows car campground becomes the winter ski hut. At the last time that I checked, it was free, first come first served. There is a large steel shipping container behind there, and it is for food storage. So, skiers will drive several days worth of winter food up there in September or October and lock it up. When they come skiing along in March, the food is waiting for them. That will lighten your pack a lot, which is what we are about here.
Besides, it is great to wander around Tuolumne Meadows on skis as you follow animal tracks in the snow. In fact, two NPS rangers spend the winter there, and they report on tracks and animal sightings.