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851 Cadet Squadron needs new home as Quinte Conservation to demolish building; install gates at Macaulay

851 Prince Edward Squadron cadets and staff saluted the 100 People Who Care PEC group in thanks for an $11,000 donation presented at their Macaulay Mountain headquarters. – Sue Capon file photo

The 851 Prince Edward Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron is looking for a new home as Quinte Conservation’s Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area will be demolishing the well-worn legacy building and workshop.

Macaulay Mountain Conservation area, and building, shown in this file photograph by Terry Sprague.

It also plans to install a parking gate system, parking lot improvements, and upgrades and maintenance to picnic shelters and tables, washrooms, signage and trails.

“We have a vision for Macaulay Mountain, and in its current state, there are limits to our ability to make the necessary changes,” said Brad McNevin, Chief Administrative Officer of Quinte Conservation. “For us to restore Macaulay to its natural ecology, we’ve had to make some tough decisions including the removal of structures. While we understand the impact these changes may have, we are committed to doing what’s best for our organization and the conservation area.”

In early November 10 Quinte Conservation notified 851 Squadron it would not be renewing their lease agreement at the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area, which was set to expire on Dec. 31, 2023.

However, Quinte Conservation has extended the lease agreement by six months beyond the expiry date to allow time for the squadron to find an alternative training location, notes Yvonne Cooper, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer at the Air Cadet League of Canada.

Cadet training facilities are the responsibility of the Air Cadet League of a Canada, a civilian, volunteer-led organization that works in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces to deliver the cadet program.

“The Squadron has paraded at the Macaulay Mountain Conservation Area since 1996, utilizing the former office space and workshop spaces and has enjoyed working with Quinte Conservation over the last 27 years and are looking forward to collaboration opportunities in the future,” adds Cooper.

There are about 30 cadets who parade weekly with 851 Squadron. New members are always welcome. Click here for more information about the Air Cadet program.  For more about 851 Squadron, email or telephone 613-476-6881.

“This decision was made after careful consideration of various factors and prioritizes the safety and well-being of all parties involved,” said McNevin in a media release.

At its October meeting, Quinte Conservation also identified the installation of an electronic gate at Macaulay Mountain as a key site improvement.

“This action has already proven beneficial in several ways in other QC areas, effectively reduced incidents of garbage dumping, vandalism and inappropriate use, safeguarding the natural environment. By implementing parking fees, QC aims to strike a balance between providing a high-quality visitor experience and ensuring the long-term sustainability of its conservation areas.

“Through our Conservation Area Improvement Strategy, we aim to create a space that fosters a deep connection with nature and promotes sustainable outdoor recreation,” says McNevin.

“Macaulay Mountain is set to become a premier destination site, providing opportunities for passive outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, bird watching, picnicking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, photography, picnics and nature appreciation.”

Macaulay Mountain is home to a steep escarpment and features more than seven km of trails including a walkway and Birdhouse City.

The public can access QC’s Conservation Area Strategy online at

The link explains each conservation area categorized into one of three tiers, based on visitation rate, vandalism, garbage dumping, infrastructure/maintenance and trail systems.

It also explains the public areas rely heavily on paid parking, grants and donations as they are not strongly supported through tax dollars.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency, serving 18 municipalities in the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers, and Prince Edward County watersheds.

Below, long-term visions for conservation areas in the County:


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  1. todd says:

    I have many great memories of mountain biking here. As a kid I would spend hours riding the trails and helping maintain them. It sad that there is no mention of this in future plans. Thanks to those who worked hard in the past to maintain and create some great bike trails.

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