Gateway Hill trail | Image courtesy of Syncrude Canada Ltd.
The Alberta government recently certified one of Syncrude’s parcels of reclaimed land north of Fort McMurray — a first in the oil sands industry. Planting tree and shrub seedlings on the 104 hectares of land known as Gateway Hill began in 1983. It has since flourished into a healthy forest of broad leaf and needle leaf trees interspersed by several wetlands.
“Syncrude achieved this milestone today thanks to the vision of employees who led this reclamation process from the beginning,” said president and CEO Tom Katinas. “It’s a testament of our long-term commitment to land reclamation and overall sustainability in the oil sands.
Visitors can view the reclamation by hiking a 4.5 kilometre interpretive footpath known as the Matcheetawin trail that winds through the forest.
“Matcheetawin trail is a fitting name for where our reclamation efforts truly began,” said Katinas, referring to the Cree word meaning “beginning place.”
“This continues to be a part of our business where we are delivering on our promises. We reclaimed more than 80 additional hectares in 2007 and are focusing on about another 100 hectares this year.”
Syncrude has now reclaimed more than 4,500 hectares, representing the largest share in the oil sands industry.