Located near Peterborough’s east end, Harold Town Conservation Area is a property which has seen many users, and many trails over the years. The area has a unique history – like many Conservation Areas in Ontario – where you can find much evidence of past uses, including farmsteads, an old ski hill, ATV and dirt bike trails, and orchards.

Commonly (but incorrectly) rumoured to be abandoned, today Harold Town is used by hikers, dog walkers, trail runners, cyclists, equestrians, skiiers, and geocachers, to name a few. All these folks are sharing a network of four season singletrack and doubletrack trails – some built purposely, others simply stomped in over the years.

Sound like an urban trail network near you? Probably, these issues are very common in places where a large number and variety of unorganized users share trails.

Rather than informally use the trails, the local IMBA-affiliated bike org Peterborough Cycling Club has forged a relationship with land manager Otonabee Conservation to help develop new sustainable trails, inhance the existing singletrack, and also represent cyclists interests on the property. Especially in an urban park area which has historical use by so many user types, this sort of official partnership is a crucial one!

Our visit with the PCC brought together many mountain bikers, trail builders, and trail users from around the region for an IMBA Trail Building School, followed by an afternoon of trail building in the field.

The trail project was a reroute of a steep and poorly flowing section of trail, which had a number of unnecessary twists and turns.

The soil made for a very slippery tread surface which was difficult walk on, and causing gullies to form.

The new trail was routed along the contour of the hill and utilized a pile of stone, from a long-gone homestead on the property, as an interesting and effective turn anchor.

Digging a burrow pit in a cooridor from an old ski run. Or ski lift. Can’t remember which! Harold Town certainly has an interesting history.

The new contour route was beautifully constructed and finished, thanks to our outstanding volunteers!

First tracks on the new trail!

Thanks very much to the PCC for a great visit, and also to Otonabee Conservation, for your support for the event, and your commitment to offering high quality trails! Thanks also to Zach Wynen for hosting us.

Check out our photo album from the event on Flickr!