The Trail Research Hub

Learn more about The Trail Research Hub that aims to grow trail-based research and evidence-based practice to support the professionalization of the Canadian trails sector.

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Event Details

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October 19, 2023

10:00 AM to 11:15 AM (Pacific Time) {more time zones}

11:00 AM to 12:15 PM (Mountain Time)
12:00 PM to 01:15 PM (Central Time)
01:00 PM to 02:15 PM (Eastern Time)


FREE for members
FREE for nonmembers

Learning Credit Cost: FREE


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Webinar Outline

The concept of the Trail Research Hub was first conceived by Kelsey Johansen, Kirsten Spence, and Jane McCulloch as a way to generate a more collaborative approach to trails and trail-based research. As avid trail users, planners, and advocates, the team brings decades of experience to the Hub. Kelsey’s background in community-based outdoor recreation and tourism development paired with her research and teaching allows the Hub to explore new partnerships and initiatives. Both Jane and Kirsten have been involved with trail development and trail tourism across Canada for over 20 years. By bringing together leaders in trail development and partnering with educational institutions, such as the University of Waterloo, the Trail Research Hub aims to grow trail-based research and evidence-based practice to support the professionalization of the Canadian trails sector.

The Trail Research Hub and the Canadian Trails Federation entered into an MOU in 2022 and will be launching a new educational initiative in September 2023. This webinar will focus on the new initiative, ongoing Trail Research Hub projects, and the value and importance of trail research founded in strong research methods.

Learning Objectives:

  • How can the principles of social enterprise be applied to establishing sustainable trail organizations?
  • What is collective impact (as it relates to trails) and how could this be applied to a trail initiative that you are familiar with?
  • Provide examples of research methods that trail organizations can use to collect baseline information and give a scenario of how this could be used with a small volunteer organization.


This webinar qualifies as a Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) course (via LA CES).

Webinar Resources

  • The Trail Research Hub Home
  • The Trail Research Hub - National Roundtable on Risk Management
  • The Trail Research Hub - Publications
  • The Trail Research Hub - Article: The Value of Research for Trails
  • The Trail Research Hub - Research Initiatives
  • The Trail Research Hub - Trails and Social Enterprise Research Project
  • The Trail Research Hub Social Media


    Webinar Partners


    Dr. Kelsey Johansen, PhD, Chair and Researcher, The Trail Research Hub
    Joensuu, North Karelia, Finland

    Dr. Johansen is a Board Member of the Canadian Trails Federation. She is an avid hiker, trail rider, snowshoer and canoeist. She has travelled many trails throughout Northwestern Ontario, Southern Ontario, and Northern Quebec (Canada), Germany (National Park Harz, the Konigsee, and the Ostbayerisher Jakobsweg in Naturpark Altmühltal), the Shetland Islands, the South Island of Aotearoa / New Zealand (including the Mackenzie Basin, Aoraki / Mount Cook, and Franz Josef Glacier) and the forests of Sweden, including Tyresta National Park, and Stockholm's National Stads Parken.

    In her role as a Lecturer in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo, Kelsey has taught several courses on Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and the Natural Environments in which students engage in place-based learning labs. Additionally, her Introduction to Tourism students have been actively involved in trail tourism community-service learning projects with the Ontario Trails Council, regional trail building organizations, and destination marketing organizations across Ontario.

    To give back to the local trails community, Kelsey serves as the Social Media Coordinator and Newsletter Editor for the Voyageur Trail Association. Kelsey also serves on the Boards of the Canadian Trails Federation, and the Ontario Trails Council where she is Chairs the Marketing Subcommittee and is a member of the OTC Trail Tourism Subcommittee. She is also a member of the World Trails Network.


    Jane McCulloch, President, Canadian Trails Federation
    Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

    Jane McCulloch (nee Murphy) is the Community Liaison (Atlantic Canada) with The Trail Research Hub. She is also a principal of Terminus Consulting and is a trail recreation and tourism consultant with a focus on community and stakeholder engagement and product development. Jane is passionate about the advancement of trail, active transportation, and cycling infrastructure in Canada and has had the opportunity to see the evolution of many trails from trail development to successful tourism and active transportation products. She is also the President of the Canadian Trails Federation.

    Jane was instrumental in the development and launch of the Destination Trail Assessment Tool through Atlantic Canada Trails. This program saw the assessment of nearly 40 trails in Atlantic Canada with 12 reaching destination trail status. This tool has resulted in the enhancement of many long-distance trails in Atlantic Canada and has been adopted by the Province of New Brunswick for the assessment of their Signature Trails.

    As National Director of Trail with Trans Canada Trail, Jane was involved in the development of 10,000km of land and water trail and road cycling infrastructure which connected The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail) in 2017. In this role, she led the development of the National Road Cycling Strategy and the National Signage Program which provided opportunities to brand trails and road cycling infrastructure while enhancing the overall user experience.


    Kirsten Spence, Community Liaison (Ontario), The Trail Research Hub
    Hurkett, Ontario, Canada

    Based in Northern Ontario, Kirsten Spence is the principal of Quercwood Consulting, a personalized consulting company specializing in trail development, trail and management planning, operations, and project management. Clients include provincial and regional trail organizations, First Nation communities, Parks Canada, and the Government of Ontario.

    Currently her main project is developing a hiking trail to connect the painting sites of Canada’s famous Group of Seven in the Marathon area.

    Kirsten also worked for Trans Canada Trail Ontario for 7 years as the Trail Coordinator assisting groups with planning, funding, construction oversight, governance issues and government relations.

    As program administrator for Snowmobiling with the National Trails Coalition, Kirsten administered and managed $6 Million in funding for infrastructure projects across Canada. Other projects include conducting field work with Blythe & Associates for Ministry of Transportation on an archaeological study for highway expansion.

    Kirsten has been involved with trail development for over 15 years and prior to that, with Ontario Parks as a Park Technician operating a water access only Provincial Park on Georgian Bay.


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    Learning Credits and CEUs

    American Trails is proud to be a certified provider of the following learning credits and continuing education opportunities:

    • American Institute of Certified Planners Continuing Maintenance (AICP CM)
    • Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System (LA CES) (most HSW approved)
    • National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) CEU equivalency petition
    • CEU/PDH equivalency petition for other accepting organizations

    Learning credits are free for attendees for American Trails webinars and the International Trails Summit, as well as for other trail and outdoor recreation-related conferences, webinars, and workshops we offer credits for. Learn more here.



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    7,426 views • posted 07/19/2023