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Broken Marble


Recreation and Tourism Academic, Practitioner, and Consultant


Dr. Kelsey Johansen, Chair of the Trail Research Hub, is a researcher and consultant specializing in sustainable tourism, and trail-based recreation and tourism, with a focus on community-based research and stakeholder engagement. Currently, Kelsey is consulting for various governmental, non-governmental, philanthropic and academic organizations, while also an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Waterloo. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Trails Foundation and the Ontario Trails Council, and is the Past Publicity Director, Social Media Coordinator and Newsletter Editor for the Voyageur Trail Association.

As a broadly trained social scientist, Kelsey focuses on projects that leverage community assets to develop sustainable recreation and tourism products while promoting knowledge mobilization and translation within and across sectors, using a community-centred, service-focused, and solution-oriented lens. Kelsey is passionate about the advancement of trail-based recreation and tourism infrastructure, programming, and product development in Canada and internationally, and has worked with diverse trail-based organizations and tourism development entities from the regional, provincial / territorial, and national level, and within academia. An ethic of care, combined with lifelong nature-based recreation pursuits and global travel, has shaped and continues to guide, Kelsey’s work and research.

Kelsey’s work bridges the practical, methodological and theoretical drawing on scholarship from tourism studies, geography, sociology, anthropology, political ecology, human dimensions of resource management and environmental studies. Kelsey’s teaching interests include nature-based therapeutic recreation, outdoor recreation. risk management, and community-based tourism development. Kelsey has taught at the University of Waterloo (Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies), Lakehead University (School of Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism, Department of Anthropology and Department of Geography) and the University of Manitoba (Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management).

Kelsey graduated from the University of Otago with a PhD (Tourism) in 2022, a Masters specializing in Nature-Based Recreation and Tourism from Lakehead University in 2011, and undergraduate degrees in Anthropology (HBSc), Outdoor Recreation (HBOR) and Philosophy (BA) in 2008. Her work has been supported by a Doctoral Scholarship from Otago (2013 – 2016), and a Hallman Undergraduate Fellowship (2021) and Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement Seed Grant, from Waterloo (2022).

With fifteen years experience building meaningful multi-stakeholder partnerships and managing research and consulting projects in economic development, recreation and tourism infrastructure and product development, and regenerative practices, Kelsey’s skills include mentoring and supervision, curriculum design, student-centred instruction, remote and complex team management, academic and industry research, non-profit organization and project operations, cross-cultural communications and community engagement. Kelsey is open to projects globally and has regional expertise in North America, Europe, and the Pacific.



You can learn more about Kelsey's engagement in
teaching, research and service by clicking on the links below.

Mountain View


Discover and Create

Kelsey is an interdisciplinary and pragmatic scholar and researcher, inspired by a desire to find meaningful, community engaged, solutions to real world problems that promote knowledge mobilization and translation within and across sectors.



Support and Build

Kelsey consults on diverse recreation, tourism, curriculum design, teaching and research topics and is passionate about projects that focused on community-engaged nature-based recreation and tourism product development, stakeholder engagement, and building education and research capacity among on-profit organizations.



Inspire and Engage

Kelsey is passionate about experiential, place-based and outdoor education, as well as ways to extend the learning environment beyond the traditional classroom setting. She teaches in the areas of nature-based therapeutic recreation, outdoor recreation. risk management, community-based tourism development, and research methods.



Advocate and Contribute

Kelsey is actively engaged in the University Community, through service on administrative Committees, and has always volunteered  professionally  an d personally within the communities in which she lives. 

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