Maximizing the use of onsite material to create topsoil has the potential to reduce costs for mine reclamation in the eastern United States. This study evaluated the addition of short paper fiber (SPF), a by-product of paper mill processing, to coarse coal refuse (CCR) to aid in vegetation establishment. Vegetation growth in two blends of SPF and CCR (80% CCR with 20% SPF; 60% CCR with 40% SPF) was compared to growth in refuse. Ground cover was monitored weekly, and biomass was measured. The SPF/CCR blends resulted in significantly higher ground cover and biomass than the refuse alone. Therefore, the addition of SPF shows potential to support vegetation establishment in CCR. Ground cover reached the minimum level needed for environmental permit release (70%) for both SPF/CCR blends, but ground cover decreased to below 50% on average by the end of the study. Further study should be completed at a large scale.