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Dark Rainforest Path

Our Hub Team

The Trail Research Hub undertakes research, education, and outreach initiatives to support sustainable trail development, construction, and maintenance across Canada while establishing best practice guidelines for trails governance and management.

The Team

The Trail Research Hub Team is comprised of dedicated trails researchers and practitioners from academia, industry and community, each of whom brings their unique experience and expertise to the team.


Kelsey M. Johansen

Chair and Researcher

Languages: English, French, German

Kelsey 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.

Currently, Kelsey is completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Water Recreation, Well-being and Tourism, focussing on the ways that water trails positively impact recreationists and tourists subjective well-being. Kelsey is also an Adjunct Professor in Lakehead University's School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism (Thunder Bay, Canada).

In her previous 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 were 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 local trails communities, Kelsey has served as the Social Media Coordinator and Newsletter Editor for the Voyageur Trail Association (2010 - 2021), and Publicity Director (2010 - 2013), and was the founding President of the Nor'Wester Voyageur Trail Club (2011 - 2013). Kelsey also serves on the Boards of the Canadian Trails Federation, and has previously served on the Ontario Trails Council where she Chaired the Marketing Subcommittee and was a member of the OTC Trail Tourism Subcommittee (2019 - 2023). She has also been a member of the World Trails Network since 2019.

Current Projects: The Hydrocut Econonic Impact Study (Waterloo, Canada), Trails and Social Enterprise Project (Ontario, Canada) and will be instructing the Metsähallitus Ruunaa Hiking Area Project Course in Spring 2024 (University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, Finland).

Past Projects: Grand Watershed Trails Project, Thunder Bay Region Mountain Bike User Survey, National Roundtable on Risk Management, Insuring Ontario's Trails Survey Project, and Winter 2021 Ontario Trails ICD Projects.


Dr. R. Harvey Lemelin


Languages: English, French

As an avid hiker, mountain biker, fatbiker, and snowshoer Harvey have traveled many trails throughout Northwestern Ontario, Canada, and the United States.


In his role as Professor in the School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks & Tourism at Lakehead University, Harvey has also guided student hikes along the north-shore of Lake Superior. Throughout these travels, he realized that the development and maintenance of these trails has been largely in the hands of volunteer organizations.


Harvey volunteers as as a trail groomer and on trail maintenance crews for the Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club in Thunder Bay, Ontario and assists with annual trail clean-ups for the Casque Isles Trail in the Terrace Bay and Rossport areas to give something back to these organizations, both locally and regionally. He previously served as an Executive Member of the Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club, where he is in charge of Sponsorship.


Harvey's research in trails focuses on impact management, regional tourism strategies, and interpretation.

Current Projects:  The Hydrocut Econonic Impact Study (Waterloo, Canada) and teaching two trails-based field courses (Fatbiking and Hiking) which include both an expedition and student-led research component and supervising direct studies on trails (Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada), and researching the expansion of Via Ferrata recreation and tourism is North America.

Past Projects: Thunder Bay Region Mountain Bike User Survey


Jane McCulloch (nee Murphy)

Researcher and
Community Liaison (Maritimes)

Languages: English, French

Jane McCulloch (nee Murphy), principal of Terminus Consulting, 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.

Current Projects: Trails and Social Enterprise Project (New Brunswick, Canada).


Kirsten Spence

Researcher and
Community Liaison (Ontario)

Languages: English

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.

Current Projects: Trails and Social Enterprise Project (Ontario, Canada).

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