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Background

Caledon’s Cheltenham Badlands temporarily closed: Plan in development to protect rare natural landscape

To protect the fragile and picturesque topography of the Cheltenham Badlands, the exposed red shale landscape is currently closed to the public while a Master Plan is in progress. Signs at the site advise the public that accessing the Badlands is considered trespassing. In support of the closure and to ensure public safety, trespassing is being enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police. Anyone who witnesses trespassing or vandalism at the site is asked to call the police directly at 1-800-310-1122. The Ontario Heritage Trust and its partners on the Cheltenham Badlands Management Planning Team (CBMPT) appreciate the support of the community and the public in ensuring the protection of this important natural heritage site while we work towards a long-term conservation plan. Read the media release for more information …

Current situation

The growth in popularity of the site has resulted in several public safety and conservation issues. The thousands of individuals who visit the site each year are faced with dangerous conditions stemming from traffic congestion along Olde Baseline Road. Without dedicated parking facilities at or near the site, visitors have no choice but to park illegally along the shoulder of the narrow road. During the busiest periods, drivers must cautiously navigate between parked cars to avoid pedestrians making their way to and from their vehicles.

Additionally, unrestricted access and human foot traffic are having a significant and measurable erosional impact that threatens the rugged topography of the Badlands. Each of the thousands of visitors who set foot on the Badlands causes irreversible damage. Unpermitted activities such as cycling, motorized vehicle use and camping cause further damage and contribute to other unlawful activity such as littering, vandalism and fires.

Guiding principles and priorities

The Trust is working alongside eight partner organizations (see the list of partners at the bottom of this page) as part of the Cheltenham Badlands Management Planning Team (CBMPT) to address public safety, erosion, conservation and stewardship issues identified at the site. In an effort to direct long-range planning and to help address site management issues at the site, the CBMPT has developed the following guiding principles:

  • conservation of the property’s cultural and natural heritage values
  • safety for all individuals who visit the site
  • improved accessibility for those who wish to access the site
  • enhanced opportunities for interpretation and public education
These principles align directly with the Trust’s mandate and will guide all future work that occurs at the Badlands.

Development of a Master Plan

As required under the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the Trust, in consultation with the CBMPT, is developing a Master Plan for the property. To facilitate this work, the Trust has retained a consultant team to lead a comprehensive public consultation and planning process. The Master Plan will provide for an appropriate balance of resource management, environmental protection and public access to the property by setting guiding policies and delineating strategies for managing conservation and safety issues.

Partners


Contact

Please send your questions and comments to programs@heritagetrust.on.ca.