Nfld. & Labrador

Blow Me Down ski club engages pilot project with Corner Brook Pulp & Paper

Last summer, the Blow Me Down cross-country ski club initiated a pilot project with the mill in Corner Brook, in an effort to turn the mill's waste material into valuable mulch for the club's trails.
The Blow Me Down Trails has started a new pilot project with Corner Brook Pulp & Paper. (Blow Me Down cross-country ski club Facebook page)

What once was brought to a landfill just might assist in growing grass. 

The Blow Me Down cross-country ski club has initiated a pilot project with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd., in an effort to turn some of the mill's waste material into valuable mulch for the club's trails.

Club spokesperson Shawn Leamon told the Corner Brook Morning Show this week that they're always interested in trying new ideas to improve ski conditions for members.

The Blow Me Down Trails cross-country ski club, which was formed in 1973, is located on Lundrigan Drive in Corner Brook. (Blow Me Down Trails Facebook page)

As in other years, alders, which are vigorous-growing trees, have been poking up through the ground. Last year, a club member tripped while out on the trail.

Leamon said the club has been wanting to level the trails, to keep alders from growing.

"We were chatting about other clubs, how they're using mulching layers, and different types kinds of materials. Sawdust and bark, and all these types of things," he said.

"We have several members of the club that work at the paper mill, so we started a discussion. It's basically just bark, but they [the mill] also has some things from the mill yard which they normally have to dispose of in a landfill."

So far, so good 

Leamon said the pilot project will determine if the mill waste, as a mulching material, will compact, and decrease weed and alder growth.

He said last summer when the project started, the group wasn't sure if it the mulch would hold moisture, or make the problem worse.

"We had no idea what that consistency would be like. But so far, it's looking really good," he said. 

"Because the areas that we did spread bark on over the summer, when the material was put in and placed, by the end of the year you could actually drive over it with a pickup truck," Leamon said.

Cross country ski tracks. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Leamon said the tested area was near their main lodge, where the club starts and ends all its races.

"This year for us it's great, because on the far end of the stadium and that whole area, it's going to be for Special Olympics snowshoe events," he said.

"Basically we're going to be making an oval in that area. But one end of it had a big dropoff, maybe about six feet deep in that far end, and we were able to get enough material for this pilot project to level up that stadium area, and to make it a much more usable site." 

Now that the club has one testing summer under its belt, Leamon said now they need to review the project.

 "We've got to do our review of what we think the project was, sit down with the people at the mill and see from their perspective how they thought the project was. Review numbers, because cost when you're doing anything like this is a factor."


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