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Climax in Lake County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Highest Compost Pile in the World

 
 
The Highest Compost Pile in the World Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 28, 2017
1. The Highest Compost Pile in the World Marker
Inscription. Eighty years of mining operations on Fremont Pass disturbed more than five square miles of land and altered the course of a stream. As of 2009, Climax Molybdenum Company had spent nearly $50 million on land reclamation and water treatment. Not a dime came from tax dollars.

Land reclamation at 11,000 feet above sea level, where the growing season is about 32 days long, isn't easy. The first step, after the tailings (waste rock) are graded to a final contour, involves spreading crushed limestone on the tailings to neutralize their acidity. Then about four to eight inches of topsoil are added.

That topsoil is produced in the world's highest compost piles from sewage sludge ("biosolids") and wood chips, a mix that decomposes into garden-quality soil with the help of air pumped into the piles. Summit County's biosolids are composted here, as well as biosolids from several other counties and municipalities. Mountain communities and the mine both benefit from this award-winning program: local governments get cost-effective waste management, and Climax gets the raw materials it needs for land reclamation.

The final step in the process is seeding the land with “Climax Mix,” a combination of grasses and perennials proven to grow at high-altitude during more than four decades of experimentation. Native
Marker detail: “Before” image of Robinson Tailings Pond area circa 2004-5 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: “Before” image of Robinson Tailings Pond area circa 2004-5
trees like Colorado blue spruce and Engelmann spruce are also planted.
 
Erected by Climax Molybdenum Company & the Federal Highway Administration.
 
Location. 39° 22.04′ N, 106° 11.319′ W. Marker is in Climax, Colorado, in Lake County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 91 11 miles south of Interstate 70, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located on the west side of Colorado Highway 91, at the summit of Fremont Pass, directly across from the Climax Molybdenum Mine, within a small park containing historical markers and mining exhibits. Marker is in this post office area: Climax CO 80429, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water Treatment Protects Downstream Users (here, next to this marker); The Big Shot (a few steps from this marker); Skiing on Top of the World (a few steps from this marker); More Than Just a Mine (a few steps from this marker); Top Secret (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Climax! (within shouting distance of this marker); Climax (within shouting distance of this marker); Life on the High Line (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Climax.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large
Marker detail: “After” image of Robinson Tailings Pond area as it may look in the future image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: “After” image of Robinson Tailings Pond area as it may look in the future
composite plaque, mounted on a large boulder.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Climax Historical Park
 
Also see . . .  Reclamation in Colorado: A Biosolids Success Story. Large quantities of mine tailings were placed in a tailings impoundment in a drainage area, known as the Robinson Tailings Pond, adjacent to the Climax mine. Reclamation of the 600-acre Robinson Tailings Pond has been ongoing for the past few decades. Capping the pond began in the 1980s and first required a combination of soil and rock to stabilize the surface. Once capped, the surface required a topsoil layer able to support plant growth. While rock was plentiful, the large amount of topsoil needed was not. By the 1990s, the explosive growth of resort communities in the local region created an increase in biosolid production. In addition, ski trail expansion and booming construction generated extra quantities of wood residuals. Climax has now reclaimed much of the land along Highway 91 and has planted numerous spruce, fir, aspen and willow tree saplings. (Submitted on September 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. EnvironmentIndustry & CommerceMan-Made Features
 
The Highest Compost Pile in the World Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 28, 2017
4. The Highest Compost Pile in the World Marker (wide view)
Climax Historical Park (<i>entrance from Colorado Highway 91 at Fremont Pass</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 28, 2017
5. Climax Historical Park (entrance from Colorado Highway 91 at Fremont Pass)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 2, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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