Dec 1, 2001 | Marmot, Winter 2001

The Greening of Mt.Washington

There’s an awful lot of green at Mt. Washington these days - environmentally sensitive green, that is.

Visitors to the resort last summer saw a marked difference in aesthetics around the main lodge, as flowers were planted, areas were seeded and topsoil was cleaned up.

The primary environmental project was the completion of the Gold Trail, at the entrance to the main parking lot, Resort General Manager Peter Gibson said. A water and trail feature was created, and catch basins were built to change the flow of water and associated melt off. That in turn reduces the amount of silt that comes off the parking lot. “That was one of the concerns that was expressed when we had a big snowfall three years ago,” he said.

The entrance to the parking lot was also reconfigured and an access road paved to address silting issues. The back of the main lodge has been terraced, and the lupin gardens have become an established attraction. Flower gardens were planted with hardy, native plants that require little or no watering, and Gibson is confident they will provide a pleasing ground cover once the snow disappears. A gravel trail was built from the courtyard between the two lodges, too.

The resort did a lot of seeding along the side of the road, from the Sunrise Quad chairlift to the main lodge. The banks at Village Transport were tidied up and planted with hardy natives, too – “anything we could do to clean it up.” (The resort’s efforts have led to a nomination for the B.C. Council of Tourism’s Starfish Award.)

Even the new Raven Lodge nordic facility has gone green, Gibson said. The toilets and urinals use recycled gray water; the rubber flooring in the basement is made of recycled car tires; and some of the wood used to finish the lodge was cleared from the area and milled on site. There are also water-conserving plumbing fixtures, like ultra low flush toilets and low flow taps.

When constructing the two new parking areas, topsoil was scraped off and stored to use in future reclamation projects. “Everywhere you see dirt, they’ve tried to clean it up – even at the sewage treatment plant,” Gibson said.

In the next year the resort will explore self-composting toilets, reducing hydro consumption, installation of drinking fountains and many other ideas that will continue to support its environmental initiatives. And the beautification on the outside will continue, as well.

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