NEW – University research at Cheltenham Badlands

In June 2015, the Cheltenham Badlands was closed to the public due in part to the accelerated erosion caused from increasing numbers of visitors. As part of a long-term plan, the Ontario Heritage Trust has partnered with the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo to monitor the geological and ecological change over time. This research will continue in 2018 while the site remains closed and under development.

Ecological succession research

The University of Waterloo will inventory the flora on the Badlands site and then compare it to historical inventories completed by the Credit Valley Conservation Authority. The current inventories will be observed in predetermined plots randomly placed on the property. From this, the university will then be able to monitor the natural succession of native species compared to non-native and invasive plant species, as well as the scale and rate of spread. This information can infer the rate and extent to which plant species will cover the site, based on current conditions.

Erosion research

Likewise, the University of Toronto will maintain an erosion monitoring program to assess ongoing natural rates of erosion. This study will look at historical erosion rates at various nodes on the site and compare to current conditions. The study will alternatively examine the effects caused from limiting foot traffic to the site, particularly where the highest impact was observed. This information can be used to predict erosion rates over time based on current conditions.

The results from these research activities will be an essential component to update and guide the Master Plan development and the management and protection of this rare landscape. Therefore, these universities have been granted special access to the Cheltenham Badlands property for their research activities while the site remains closed to the public.

The undulating shale feature at the Badlands property continues to be a sensitive and vulnerable area. These research activities focus on the natural conditions of the site without human traffic impact. Trespassing on the shale feature or anywhere on the property may unknowingly alter research results and negatively affect site conditions.

The Cheltenham Badlands is scheduled to re-open in the late summer of 2018, weather pending. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

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. Media release ...

The Ontario Heritage Trust is currently leading a Master Planning process for the site:

A natural heritage landmark

The Cheltenham Badlands – owned by the Ontario Heritage Trust (the Trust) and managed by the Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) – is one of Ontario’s geological treasures. 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 one of the most recognizable and visited natural heritage landmarks in southern Ontario.

For more information about how the exposed red shale landscape of the Cheltenham Badlands was formed, why it is significant, and what the Trust and its partners are doing to protect it, here are links to recent news items. Please note that links may not work on all computers.

Help us preserve the Cheltenham Badlands

The work of the Trust in conserving Ontario’s heritage would not be possible without the support of donors, corporate sponsors and partners across the province. Your support will ensure that the Cheltenham Badlands are enjoyed by future generations.

Make a donation to support work being done at the Badlands ...

Ongoing conservation work

Cheltenham Badlands is a unique and spectacular natural landscape feature in southern Ontario at risk of damage from intense public use. The Trust is undertaking a project in 2017-18 to improve access to the site, upgrade the trails, enhance public safety and introduce new trail wayfinding and onsite/virtual interpretive features.

The Trust would like to acknowledge the Government of Canada’s financial support for this project.

The Trust would also like to acknowledge the financial support provided by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.