Trail Studies Unit





What is the Trail Studies Unit?


The TSU was created in 1992 by faculty of Trent University and Fleming College. It is a unique organization in dedicated to undertaking, archiving, and disseminating research on trails.


Leader of the Pack in Trail Research” – 2001 article from the Peterborough Examiner, written by John Marsh



Why is expertise on trails needed?


v   Trails have been important historically in Canada and are increasingly valuable as recreation, conservation and education resources.

v   They include the routes of Aboriginal peoples, explorers and voyageurs; trails used for hiking, horseback riding, snowshoeing, skiing, cycling, mountain biking, dirt biking, snowmobiling, All-Terrain Vehicle driving, canoeing, kayaking, portaging, and so on; trails used for interpretive and educational purposes; trails for the disabled; and greenways.

v   They be long or short; they may be on Aboriginal territory, private land, government land, public land, or a combination of these; they may be owned or managed by a variety of public and private agencies.

v   Each trail is unique and has a history that is part of that region’s heritage.

v   Each trail adds dimension to the biophysical evolution and geographical character of the landscape it is part of.

v   Trails need to be developed, planned, managed, interpreted, and generally stewarded in ways that are sensitive to the impacts they pose on their respective environments.

v   All of these aspects are complicated by the different perspectives held by myriad stakeholders in the land: aboriginal communities; various levels and ministries of government, citizens, developers, contractors, multiple levels of industry, landowners, farmers, foresters, and environmental, cultural, conservation, outdoor recreation and tourism interests, among them.




Who works at the Trail Studies Unit?

Directors :


Staff :





ACTIVITIES - The activities of the Trail Studies Unit include:


v   Maintaining a resource centre that comprises thousands of references on trails.

v   The production of bibliographies and perusal of sources pertaining to trails.

v   Dissemination of such resources to agencies, organizations, and the public.

v   Trail studies, research, and interpretation; from projects of personal interest to work done with people who come to the TSU seeking help with their own trail-related research.

v   Consulting on trail management, interpretation, and impacts, especially in Canada.

v   Participation in trail-related conferences.

v   The production of interpretation materials and services relating to trails.

v   Update and expansion of a website focussed on trail research.







The Unit has a resource centre comprising over 2000 references on trails.





The Trail Studies Unit is located in the Environmental Sciences Building, room A102, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario.

Click here for Directions



How can I contact the TSU?

v   E-mail : Prof. John Marsh,

v   Fax : (705) 748-1205

v   Phone: (705) 748-1011 ext. 7419

v   By booking an appointment.

v   Visiting our website:




The support of Trent University, especially through its Academic Innovation Fund, Sir Sandford Fleming College, the Ontario Trails Council, Fitness Canada's Active Living and Environment Program, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Shimano Canada Ltd., Human Resources Development Canada and their Summer Career Placement Program, Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, various government agencies, and trail organizations is gratefully acknowledged.


Back to the Trent University Trail Studies Unit home page


Last updated by Wesley Found, September 28, 2011