Lived Experiences of the Trails: Perspectives from Three Southwestern Ontario Trail Organizations
Legault, Maria Kathleen
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The purpose of this qualitative thesis is to describe the common elements of sense of place in the lived experiences of volunteer trail managers. Through a triangulation of data gathered from secondary research, interviews with trail managers, and participation observation of hikers, I sought to draw out the essence of the trail manager’s sense of place towards their trail experience and connect this back to ongoing management challenges in the organization. Some of these challenges include declining membership, limited lines of communication, and problematic landowner relations. Themes around this common sense of place are situated within meanings, relationship/ attachments, emotions, and behaviors towards the trail experience. Interrelationships between sense of place, phenomenology, and trail management are also highlighted.