Why are certain areas of the Arkell property now closed to the public? Is it not a public park?
Arkell Spring Grounds, while located within Puslinch Township, is owned by the City of Guelph. Arkell Spring Grounds is home to multiple water sources which supplies 60-80 percent of Guelph’s drinking water and therefore needs to be protected and is not considered a public park. However, portions of the property (marked trails) are maintained by the Guelph Hiking Club and Guelph Off Road Biking Association, who have trail-use agreements with the City to allow for their member's use. The areas where the City has restricted access to are operational areas and are restricted to best manage potential hazards to users and staff, while ultimately protecting Guelph’s drinking water sources.
Who are registered users of the Arkell property?
The City has entered into an agreement with Guelph Hiking Club and Guelph Off Road Biking Association for their member's use of the property. Registered users are limited to the members of both respective organizations.
What gives the City the right to restrict certain areas of the site to the public?
As the property owner, the City is legally responsible for protecting land users against potential hazards and restricting land use where hazards cannot be reasonably managed. The City is also responsible for protecting Guelph’s drinking water sources, which means removing any potential threats that could impact this water source.
Is the City’s operational area fenced and/or signed?
The City has signage installed at historical access points and road crossings to identify operational areas. Sections of fencing is planned over the next several years.
Is there a map available that shows the trail system through the Arkell property? Are the trails marked by blazes or other signage?
Authorized user groups produce and maintain their own trail maps for their member's use. Each user group has designated colours to identify their trails. Guelph Off Road Biking Association trails are blazed with yellow and/or green and Guelph Hiking Club with red and/or blue. Shared trails will have both colours.
Where can I park my car?
Unfortunately, due to source water protection concerns, liability, and land-use restrictions, there is no parking on the Arkell property. Road parking rules and enforcement are the responsibility of Puslinch Township and Starkey Hill is Grand River Conservation Authority property. The City does not have permission to authorize parking on either. Please follow the parking rules and do not block any gates.