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Broken Marble


Research is formalized curiosity.

- Zora Neale Hurston

Kelsey is an interdisciplinary and pragmatic scholar, inspired by a desire to find
meaningful, community engaged, solutions to real world problems.


As an interdisciplinary scholar, Kelsey draws on literature from anthropology, geography, recreation, tourism and leisure studies, and therapeutic recreation professional practice to inform the development and practice of her diverse research projects and scholarship.


Predominately a qualitative and ethnographic researcher,
Kelsey takes a pragmatic approach to research, and is adept at community-based, participatory action research, and mixed methods scholarship, including both
quantitative research and statistical analysis, as well as public consultation and outreach.

Kelsey's Research Journey

Kelsey seeks to contribute to both the theory and practice of recreation, tourism and leisure, academically and within the communities in which she conducts her research.  As such, her research is both theoretical and applied in nature; it focuses on the areas of (contested) tourism narratives produced by and for tourists, the role of interpretation in silencing and giving voice to those narratives, the nature of host and guest interactions, and phenomenological experiences of tourism. Specifically, Kelsey's research in these areas touch on Battlefield Tourism, Agricultural Tourism, and Volunteer Tourism.

Kelsey has also worked in rural community tourism development in the Great Lakes region of Canada, leading to the development of an applied research agenda that explores trail-based recreation and trail tourism development (including converted rail trails, cycle trails, multi-use/ multi-season trails) as a driver for economic growth in rural Canada, and the intersection of trail development initiatives with indigenous culture and land claims, and private stewardship. Her work also aims to overcome the challenges to rural economic development in areas where the economy has historically been contingent on natural resource extraction industries and the implication of this and traditional consumptive rural recreational land-use practices for the development of new non-consumptive tourism economies. Kelsey's applied trails research also explores the implications of social enterprise for trail organization governance and the development and maintenance of trails as community assets. This practical trail-based recreation and trail tourism development work has related theoretical implications, centered on the intersection of rural and indigenous culture, history and knowledge and rural community tourism development, as well as theorizing the application of social enterprise models to the non-profit sector. 

Kelsey's future research plans include explorations of a) the intersection of wellness, and well being, with sustainability in rural and remote tourism experiences and on trails, b) therapeutic recreation, self-care and training for  in-service students and recently certified Therapeutic Recreationists, c) the meaning and experience of cultural heritage festivals, and d) recreation and tourism in dark sky preserves.

Current Research Projects


Water Recreation, Well-Being, and Tourism in the Finnish Lakeland Region

PI: Kelsey Johansen

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The Expansion of Via Ferrata in Canada

PI: Dr. R. Harvey Lemelin (Lakehead University)

Co- I: Kelsey Johansen

Mountain Biking by the Lake

The Hydrocut Trail Economic Impact Study

PI: Kelsey Johansen
Co-I; Dr. R. Harvey Lemelin


Trails and Social Enterprise Research Project

PI: Kelsey Johansen
Co-I's: Kirsten Spence and Jane McCulloch

Past Research Projects


Nature Journaling and Experiential Learning: Fostering Place Attachment, Promoting Pro-Environmental Attitudes, and Nature Stewardship

PI: Kelsey Johansen

Co-I: Natalie Chow (UWaterloo)


Grand Watershed Trail Network Trail-Based Recreation and Tourism Project

PI: Kelsey Johansen
Co-I's: Dr. Karla Boluk (UWaterloo) and Anne Crowe (GWTN)

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Manitoba Bilateral Funding Evaluation

PI: Dr. Joannie Halas

Co-I's: Dr. Brian Rice, Dr. Dan Henhawk, Dr. Heather McRae, Kelsey Johansen


Insect Conservation and Management in Recreation and Tourism

PI: Dr. R. Harvey Lemelin

RA: Kelsey Johansen


Battlefield Tourism

PI: Dr. R. Harvey Lemelin

RA: Kelsey Johansen

Dissertations and Theses

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