The purpose of this initiative is to establish a vibrant cooperative partnership between Brock University, The Ontario Trails Council (OTC), and The Niagara Parks Commission (NPC) with an initial five-year program of operations.
This partnership will concentrate on identifying key priorities that enhance the material benefits of trails including multi-use trails and non material benefits that improve the capacity of the NPC regarding trail assets and trail tourism. The partnership will also advance state-of-the-art knowledge, programs and policies more generally through identifying best-practices and undertaking evidence-based inquiries.
The Trail Assets and Tourism Initiative is initially set to last five years. among some of the more specific targets the three sides are working toward are:
- Conduct a needs assessment within the first year of operations in concert with the trails master planning process
- Hold public events in Niagara Parks each year to promote, mobilize knowledge and engage visitors in trail assets and tourism
- Engage graduate and undergraduate students in trail issues and initiatives in Niagara Parks through co-operative education, course projects, and independent research projects
- Explore and pursue mutually beneficial opportunities of shared interest such as grant proposals, community forums, etc.
- Promote the partnership more broadly within Niagara Parks, the Brock University community, and the Ontario Trails Council to develop informal networks locally, nationally, and internationally
Meet The Team
Garrett Hutson, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies and affiliated faculty member of the Environmental Sustainability Research Centre at Brock University. He has done considerable work exploring the topics of outdoor recreation management, outdoor leadership, and person–place relationships. His current research projects explore how human dimensions of place can inform sustainable outdoor recreation and improved outcomes for outdoor education programs. Garrett has helped to facilitate sustainability initiatives and research between the Ontario Alliance of Climbers and protected area managers in a variety of capacities. Garrett is the current Chair of the Trail Assets and Tourism Initiative partnership between Brock University, the Ontario Trails Council, and the Niagara Parks Commission.
As the Coordinator of Outdoor Recreation and Natural Lands at McMaster University, Wayne has been leading outdoor trips and teaching outdoor recreation for 25 years. As a leadership facilitator and wilderness guide, Wayne specializes in canoe tripping, trail management, hike leadership and natural history interpretation. He also coordinates natural land and conservation work for the university, liasing with many provincial and international conservation organizations. He sits on the boards of several non-government organizations, including acting as President of the Ontario Trails Council. His academic work and research focus on the history of conservation programs in Ontario and the connection between nature and human well-being.
Since 2005, Corey has turned his love of the outdoors into a successful career as a wildlife ecologist. Corey has worked across Ontario restoring wildlife habitat and establishing sustainable eco-tourism opportunities. During this time, Corey has worked with numerous government agencies, organizations, educational institutions, and industry partners, acquiring millions of dollars in funding support for these initiatives.
In January 2012, Corey joined The Niagara Parks Commission, contributing to its mandate of protecting the natural heritage of the Niagara River corridor. In his current role as Project Manager of Forest Health, Corey oversees various wildlife conservation and eco-tourism related initiatives, including the sustainable management of NPC’s natural areas, trails, species at risk, and shorelines in Niagara Parks and much more!
Outside of work, Corey enjoys hiking and back-country canoeing with his family. Corey is also in the process of restoring his own property through the planting of thousands of native trees.
In her role with the Niagara Parks Commisssion, Ellen leads the Environmental Planning team overseeing the environmental stewardship of the 1,325 hectares of Niagara Parks lands. With an academic background in landscape architecture as well as environmental studies, Ellen’s work as a registered professional planner is focused on public land use and environmental policy. She spends much of her recreation time outdoors enjoying hiking and gardening.
John Foster is a graduate student in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies within the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University. While studying Outdoor Recreation and Environmental Sustainability during his undergraduate degree at Brock University, John worked for Ontario Parks as a Park Warden and Senior Operations Technician. It was a combination of his time spent at Brock and his experiences working for Ontario Parks that have led him to develop a passion and research interest in studying how Ontario’s parks and protected areas are managed, with a focus on ensuring that management planning involves sustainable outdoor recreation access for all. This research will take place under the supervision of Dr. Garrett Hutson.
In his spare time, John participates in a variety of recreation. He primarily enjoys canoeing, camping and cycling (or combinations of the three!) as well as running and playing ultimate.
In The News
December 14, 2020: Trail Assets and Tourism Initiative Year-in-Review 2020
September 28, 2020: Brock researchers to present at Ontario Trails Council webinar