CALEDON, ON, Sept. 21, 2018 /CNW/ - The Ontario Heritage Trust is pleased to announce the re-opening of the Cheltenham Badlands on Saturday, September 22. With the new accessible boardwalk for viewing the Badlands landscape, new trailhead and wayfinding signs and a new parking lot to provide safe access to the site, visitors will now be able to safely enjoy the Badlands while helping to conserve its unique geological features for future generations.
Additional enhancements to the Badlands also include educational signage to help visitors learn the history of the site which was part of the recently completed Visitor Infrastructure Improvement project, which began in 2017.
The striking landscape of the Cheltenham Badlands is one of Ontario's geological treasures and one of the best examples of Badlands topography in the province. Over the years, this distinctive landscape has been attracting a large numbers of visitors, resulting in accelerated erosion of the sensitive red shale surface and causing permanent changes to the Badlands unique appearance. In order to protect the Badlands from further erosion, the Trust and its partners at Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and the Bruce Trail Conservancy made the difficult decision to temporarily close the site in 2015 and started work on a long-term vision and plan for the site to improve public safety and ensure the long-term protection of the site.
The visitor infrastructure conservation improvements of the property to date have been funded by the Government of Ontario, Region of Peel, from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. To support the operation of the site, there will be fees for parking and for commercial permits.
Visitors are encouraged to visit the site during off-peak hours, on weekdays, consider car-pooling or to take the shuttle available on weekends. There are many other sites of interest and natural beauty in the surrounding area, including the Terra Cotta Conservation Area.
The Cheltenham Badlands is owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust and managed by CVC and is part of the Traditional Territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. The Trust and CVC worked alongside a group of partners including the Bruce Trail Conservancy, the Region of Peel, the Town of Caledon, the Caledon Hills Bruce Trail Club, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the Caledon Environmental Advisory Committee, the Caledon Countryside Alliance and the University of Toronto to develop a long-term vision for the site that ensures its conservation while providing opportunities for the public to learn from and enjoy it.
"The Cheltenham Badlands offer an extraordinary glimpse into the history of Ontario's natural landscape. By protecting the site, installing a boardwalk, and improving safety with a parking lot, visitors can better enjoy this exceptional tourism destination. It is important to protect this natural heritage property and promote its conservation so the Badlands can be enjoyed for years to come." - The Honourable Sylvia Jones, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
"The Cheltenham Badlands is a rare and outstanding site. I encourage visitors to safely and respectfully enjoy the unique and enhanced experience now offered at the Badlands and to be part of their conservation." – Harvey McCue, Chair, Ontario Heritage Trust.
"We're honoured to lead the daily operations for one of the most well-known natural heritage landmarks in Southern Ontario. The Badlands are in good hands. Credit Valley Conservation has a successful 64-year history of land stewardship. We're inspired by this remarkable feature and our goal is to continue to protect and preserve the beauty of the Badlands through responsible management." -Nando Iannicca, Chair, Credit Valley Conservation and Councillor for Mississauga Ward 7.
- The Cheltenham Badlands will be open September 22 to October 28, 2018 for seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Badlands during off-peak hours.
- In order to conserve the Badlands feature and prevent further damage to this sensitive environment an accessible boardwalk has been constructed and provides an area from which to view the Badlands and access the new trails.
- Visitors are no longer allowed on the Badlands feature and are required to remain on the boardwalk and marked trails during their visit.
- To ensure the maintenance and upkeep of the site a pay-and-display parking fee of $10 is in effect at the Badlands. Payment by coin or credit is accepted.
- Visitors to the Badlands may keep their pay-and-display parking receipt to be used to access other CVC park locations in the area for a discount off of general admission to the other parks for a visit on the same day.
- Shuttle service from Terra Cotta Conservation Area will be available to visitors during the Fall season. The service will run weekends starting Saturday, September 22 until October 28; including Thanksgiving Monday, October 8. Shuttle buses will run every 30 minutes or less, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This service is complementary with admission fees to Terra Cotta Conservation Area. There are no additional fees for visitors arriving by shuttle to Cheltenham Badlands.
- Visitors are asked to respect the local community by adhering to posted speed limits and parking restrictions, enforcement will be in effect at all times.
- The exposed bedrock at the Cheltenham Badlands is Queenston Shale; this iron-rich shale was deposited over 450 million years ago.
- Due to removal of vegetation during land clearing and livestock grazing in the early 1900s, the shale has eroded into a series of hummocks and gullies, producing the distinctive landscape.
- Today, the Cheltenham Badlands is recognized as a provincially significant Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest.
- Find out how you can help to conserve the Cheltenham Badlands www.heritagetrust.on.ca/badlands.
- For visitor hours and operational questions, contact Credit Conservation Valley at 1-800-367-0890 or visit www.cvc.ca/badlands.
- To make a donation to support conservation work being done at the Badlands, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca/donations.
- For questions about the Badlands, contact the Ontario Heritage Trust at 416-325-5000 or [email protected].
The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.
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SOURCE Ontario Heritage Trust
For further information: about the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Cheltenham Badlands, contact Kelly Johnston at 416-325-5013 or [email protected]. Website: heritagetrust.on.ca/badlands; For more information about Credit Valley Conservation, contact Jamie Williams at 905-670-1615 ext. 285 | 1-800-668-5557 or [email protected]. Website: www.cvc.ca/badlands