Ontario Trails ICD Projects
The Ontario Trails Integrated Curriculum Design (ICD) Projects were a series of joint community-based research projects and educational initiatives undertaken during the Winter 2021 semester by students in the University of Waterloo's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in partnership with the Ontario Trails Council and trail organizations across Ontario.
Winter 2021 Project: Hastings Destination Trails
Hastings Destination Trails, Inc. is a not for profit organization that encourages and promotes a growing non motorized trail culture throughout Hastings County. Hastings Destination Trails Inc. (HDTI) has evolved into the Regional Trail Committee (RTC) for Hastings County for non-motorized trail recreation and development and they are tasked with increasing the inventory and improving the quality of existing trails within Hastings County to have a direct positive impact on improving Hastings County as a tourism destination. With more trail systems, trail stakeholders could enhance and create opportunities and experiences for revenue generation such as seasonal festivals, yurt camping, hiking, kayaking, forest bathing, heritage walks, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, etc.
The development of trails and trails activities bring people from inside and outside the geographic area to visit Hastings County. We hope that the trails will be a gateway to opening people’s eyes to not only the natural beauty of our County, but also local accommodation, restaurants, shopping and services available within the region. Increasing economic activity for these businesses should ultimately bring benefits to the entire community through additional employment, growth and revenue that stays within the County.
The mission of HDTI is to support and promote the resources for defining and sustaining a unique Hastings County network of quality trails. They are guided by a mission to stimulate economic growth by being a leading resource for trails related education, a catalyst for trail development, and to encourage the use of trails to improve quality of life while enjoying the natural beauty, culture and history of Hastings County.
Project 4: Canadian Signature Experience Survey (Hiking)
This Ontario Trail Research Project entailed Introduction to Tourism (REC 280) students working to develop and pilot a Canadian Signature Experience Survey in conjunction with Project Leads from the Advanced Seminar in Tourism (REC 480) class.
REC 480 students created a survey which will not only capture demographic information about trail users accessing the Hastings Destination Trails network of trails, but also help assess trail users perception of the trail's capacity to meet Canadian Signature Experiences selection criteria, thus contributing to a greater understanding of trail users' perceptions of the trail, and related experiences, and helping to steer marketing and branding of Trail Experiences.
REC 280 students piloted the survey.
REC 480 students modified the survey to make it more user friendly based on feedback from the REC 280 students so that it can be rolled out as an online survey over the 2021 fiscal year and assess visitor perceptions and determine user demographics for the full fiscal year.
REC 480 students summarized the findings which will be used by Hastings Destination Trail sto support an application to have their trails network designated as a Canadian Signature Experience, and guide marketing and branding of Hastings Destination Trails Experiences based on market segments (e.g. recreation users, vs. regional tourists, and also based on demographics).
REC 280 students converted the findings into infographics which the Hastings Destination Trails can share online (websites and social media) to communicate with stakeholders.
Project Liaisons: Cathy Trimble (Chair), and Dora Yateman (Vice-Chair), Hastings Destination Trails Board