The Harold Town Conservation Area ~
Peterborough’s premier mountain biking area
The Harold Town Conservation Area hosts a network of mountain biking trails, for every rider. From the beginner and youth to the most advanced technical rider, you will find a trail to excite and challenge you.
Currently, the Trails Network consists of a circular loop of wide open double track trail, with connecting trails of flowy bermed single-track, technical rock gardens, switch-back climbs, rock pile features, log hops, bridges, small rock drops and tight turns. With over 10 kilometers of trails, Harold Town Conservation Area trails are ideal for both quick spins or combined laps for epic adventures.
Trails have been constructed and are maintained in accordance with the International Mountain Bicycling Association guidelines and standards by a dedicated group of volunteers over the last several years, and work continues: adding new trails, building new structures and features, and more is planned for the future.
About the Conservation Area
The Board of Directors of the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA) accepted the donation of property from the Estate of the late Harold Town in 1994 with the understanding that the site would be used for “public park purposes”.
The property was formerly known as Cedar Mountain Ski Resort and Old Orchard Tree Farm. The property has a long history of human use and disturbance commencing in the 1800’s with the clearing of the land by Europeans for farming and homesteading. With the property having one of the highest drumlins in the Peterborough area, a downhill ski resort was developed in the 1960’s along with a private airstrip and hanger building. The hanger building later became a motorcycle/snowmobile business. An extensive trail system was constructed in the 1970’s for snowmobiles and motorcycles that over time turned into x-country skiing, cycling and hiking trails. When Mr. Town acquired the property in the early 1980’s, the ski hill operation and motorized vehicle use came to an end. Since taking ownership, ORCA has permitted scientific research, education, hiking, birding and cycling.
Although the majority of the property was forested, Mr. Town was still interested in reforesting the open sites and participated in Otonabee Conservation’s tree planting program for several years to reforest sections that were formerly disturbed. As a result of the tree planting efforts and natural regeneration occurring over the last 20 years, the property is largely vegetated at this time with only a few open areas left. In summary, the site exhibits a number of important natural heritage features largely associated with the variable topography, vegetation and drainage that resulted in the evolution of ecologically significant communities. Some examples include the mature Eastern White Cedar Forest, the Provincially Significant Earth Science ANSI (Meade Creek Drumlin) and a section of the Provincially Significant Wetland (Downer’s Corners Wetland). All of this adds up to very rich ecological site that because of its large size (323 acres) provides a valuable natural heritage site in the Peterborough Area.
Realizing the property is environmentally significant, ORCA accepted the gift of land in accordance with the wishes of the late Harold Town to manage the site for conservation and park purposes involving non-motorized, passive trail use. With the location of the property only a few kilometres east of the City of Peterborough, the property has a lot to offer the community in terms of passive recreation.
In order to reduce risk and liability, and properly and safely accommodate the use of the trails by the community, the ORCA Board authorized staff to develop the “Volunteer Trails Management Plan” and proceed with the program to develop and operate the site. Development will be kept to a minimum but still meet the basic needs of trail users without creating an expensive maintenance program. Works completed to date inlcude a new entrance from the Old Norwood Road, parking lot, gates, signage and secure storage.
How to Reach Us:
Otonabee Conservation Main Office: 705-745-5791
Facebook: Mountain Bike Riders of Harold Town
In case of emergency: Dial 911 – The HTCA # is 2611 Old Norwood Road