Cheltenham Badlands Earthcache
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The area has been identified as an Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. The Badlands are also part of Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, which was designated a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Biosphere Reserve in 1990.
Where you are now standing was once the edge of a warm, shallow sea. Far to the southeast, a mountain range the size of the Himalayas was building, and rivers from these mountains were sending red, iron-rich sediment from the mountains into the seas, forming a large, muddy delta. The sea was teaming with life, but on land, no plants or animals had yet developed.
Formation of the Badlands Queenston Shale is a very soft rock, in comparison to the harder sandstone, limestone and dolostone that make up the rest of the Niagara Escarpment. Erosion of the shale can occur rapidly if layers of other rock or vegetation are removed, and particularly if the area is impacted by grazing and large number of people. The Badlands probably began to form in the early 1900s when the trees were cut down to allow for a cattle pasture. The protective layer of vegetation was removed and the shale began to erode; although farming at the site ended in 1931, erosion of the badlands has continued to its present-day state. The Badlands are part of Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, which was designated a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Biosphere Reserve in 1990. The property contains one of the best examples of “badlands topography” development in southern Ontario, and has been identified as an Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Badlands topography is rare in Ontario because in most areas the shale is protected from erosion by overlying hard rock (limestone, dolostone or sandstone), sand or gravel. The Badlands lie within the Inglewood Slope Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA), which is an important groundwater discharge area. The coldwater stream on the property at the foot of the badlands is a tributary of the Credit River.
The posted coordinates will take you to the information sign.
As of May 2015, a fence has been installed to keep people off of the Badlands. Over the years people continue to ignore the signage and walk all over the Badlands causing them to erode at 4 times the normal rate. Because of this abuse, access to the area has become more restricted. The Bruce Trail however still goes through the site and it may be best to park a few hundred meters north of the Bruce Trail access and hike in off of CreditvView Rd which would be a hike of about 1.3km.
To claim a find on this cache, log a photo of you or your group at the site, with the Badland formations in the background. Also, if possible, try to take some interesting pictures of the Badlands too which will be useful to show the erosion taking place over time. In addition to posting your photos, please email me some of the steps that have been taken to protect these Badlands and any other interesting facts that you have learned from visiting this Earthcache.
**Additional Logging Requirements (as of Dec. 14, 2006).
--Estimate the approximate circumference of this area. Do NOT actually walk around the area as there are no more active trails here.
--Additionally, take a measurement of the altitude from where you are making your observations of the Badlands. Estimate the altitude of the highest and lowest points of the badlands (do not actually walk on the badlands themselves...use a topo map if necessary or guess).
--There are also several other "Badlands" formations within about 15 km of here, but not as prominent as this one. Do you know where they are?
***Please obey the signage and stay off of the Badlands. Please enjoy the badlands from the viewing area only.***
(No hints available.)