Jasper National Park. Jasper, Alberta, Canada. The winter sun shone brightly. There were mountains of snow everywhere. The winds were biting. The temperature, many degrees below freezing. Sounds coming from the distance indicated that there was a forestry processor working nearby. Approaching… operator Chuck Matthew climbed down from the cab.
A Volvo EC210B FX. “This is a fantastic machine. Only problem is, it always starts. Even at minus thirty degrees (Celsius) after sitting all night. I can’t even blame the machine and get some extra time off!”
The Job Site.
The Working Conditions.
Probably one of the most ecologically sensitive construction sites anywhere in North America, maybe even world-wide. Kinder-Morgan Canada Inc. and their prime contractor, North American Construction, were twinning all 1,150 kilometers (715 miles) of the Trans Mountain Multi-Product Petroleum Line (TMX). This portion, known as the TMX Anchor Loop, was passing through one of North America’s greatest natural treasures, Jasper National Park. Located in west-central Alberta, not only is Jasper the largest and most northerly Canadian rocky mountain national park, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. So the eyes of every Canadian conservationist as well as UNESCO and conservationists world-wide were focused squarely on this project. It was critical that every precaution be taken to ensure that the area’s diverse wildlife, as well as the delicate and fragile ecosystems, of this special corner of the globe be fully protected.
Before any pipeline could be laid, the entire right-of-way had to be cleared of all timber and everything had to be grubbed. All logs removed, all brush disposed of and every stump pulled out. Enter, Don Matthew and his Chinook Cove Contracting team. “Negotiations for this project have been ongoing for over two years. Not only is this a national park, it was the traditional hunting and trapping grounds of our people, the First Nations Simpcw Band. Our chief wanted to make sure that the people of the band were rewarded and had an opportunity to work on this project. I guess that is where I came in. I’m in the forest and silviculture industries and I’m a band member and most of my operators are band members as well. It was a natural fit for us.” Kinder-Morgan, North American Construction and Parks Canada agreed. So in October 2007, Don moved his fleet of Volvo forestry machines into the park. An area that had been out of bounds to forestry workers for decades. “It was really something,” Don added, “it was even a bit emotional, here we were cutting first and second growth timber that had been standing in many cases for well over one hundred years. And in some places, maybe even forever.”
The Job Site Demands.
Getting to this point was not easy for Don and his crew. Every forestry machine had to be gone over as though under a microscope. Every hydraulic line had to be checked, every nook and cranny of the machines had to be cleaned. There could not even be the hint of a possible oil leak or contaminants from another job site. Every Volvo had to look and perform like they did when they came off the assembly line. Parks Canada, Kinder-Morgan and North American Construction all had inspectors on the site. In the beginning, the operators couldn’t hardly make a move without someone looking over their shoulder and checking for environmental damage. But from day one, every Volvo performed flawlessly.