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Good news for Badlands as tourist spot open again

September 20, 2018   ·   0 Comments

Written By SCOTT TAYLOR

The Cheltenham Badlands will re-open to visitors Saturday (Sept. 22).

The popular tourist attraction was closed in 2015 for its own protection due to overwhelming demand by people drawn to the red clay and rolling, rugged terrain.

The re-opened site will feature new trails and a new boardwalk, to allow for viewing of the unique and scenic Badlands terrain. Access to the property has been enhanced and made safer with a series of new features and operational procedures, including paid parking and staff during peak visitation.

The Ontario Heritage Trust, owner of the property, is working in partnership with Credit Valley Conservation to provide daily operational oversight to the property.

The following is a quick Q&A with Ontario Heritage Trust marketing and business development manager Kelly Johnston about the Badlands.

Q: What was the full reason behind the closure?

A: The growth in popularity of the site had resulted in several public safety and conservation issues. The thousands of individuals who were visiting the site each year were faced with dangerous conditions stemming from traffic congestion along Olde Baseline Road, due to a lack of dedicated parking facilities at or near the site.

Additionally, the growth in visitation to the site resulted in significant and measurable erosional impact that threatened the rugged topography of the Badlands. Each of the thousands of visitors who set foot on the Badlands was causing irreversible damage.

The property was closed in 2015 to protect the sensitive red shale surface of the Badlands from further damage, and to provide time for the construction of a new parking lot and other visitor infrastructure to improve traffic safety and protect the shale feature.

Q; What makes the Cheltenham Badlands such a draw to tourists?

A: The Cheltenham Badlands is one of Ontario’s geological treasuresand one of the best examples of Badlands topography in the province. This impressive landscape in Caledon was first formed at the base of an ancient sea over 400 million years ago and was exposed in the early 1900s.

The site is a provincially significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest and features 1.4 km of the optimum route of the Bruce Trail. The Cheltenham Badlands is one of the most recognizable and visited natural heritage landmarks in southern Ontario.

Q: Why is it so important to protect, but still make it a place for tourists to visit?

A: In 2002, the Ontario Heritage Trust acquired the Cheltenham Badlands property to protect the rare and provincially significant topography of the site, as well as to permanently protect 1.4 km of the optimum route of the Bruce Trail. An important part of the Trust’s mandate is to not only protect and conserve provincially significant heritage property, but also to ensure that Ontario’s heritage is shared and interpreted for the benefit of the public.

         

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