Communities of Interest Project - #HikeNL
A community of interest, or COI, is a group of people with a shared passion, experience, or interest. Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland led a COI marketing project focusing on hiking in the eastern region of the province. We were thrilled to bring together a dedicated team of local hiking advocates whose talents in photography and content creation elevated the province’s profile among the global hiking market. Using the hashtag #HikeNL, our team flooded social media platforms with jaw dropping content, showcasing the beauty of eastern Newfoundland hiking trails. We encouraged other hikers to support this campaign as well, and hosted social media hiking influencers with the goal of spreading the word about the amazing hiking to experience in this region.
While this was a marketing project, we also assisted Legendary Coasts members with hiking related product development and market readiness. As a membership benefit, operators reached out for assistance with creating packages targeting the hiking market. Thanks to the great work being done by our colleagues at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation, we were able to provide operators with a clear profile of who is coming to this province to hike. That information was invaluable to operators, who then created and polished experiences specifically targeting that demographic. The increased exposure of hiking in Newfoundland and Labrador worked in tandem with new marketable products, helping to bring travellers to this province and keeping them here longer.
The use of #HikeNL increased 620% during the COI project.
Meet Our #HikeNL Advocates
For Brandon Cooney, growing up in Newfoundland cultivated a passion for the natural world. This passion led him to pursue a career in the Green Economy, and to use his photography to showcase the spectacular landscapes of this province, and the world. In Newfoundland, his favourite hike is the Flamber Head Path. Brandon has trekked the Himalayan mountains, cycle toured around New Zealand and Europe, and continues to document his journey on Instagram.
DR. TA LOEFFLER
Dr. TA Loeffler is a hiker, paddler, climber and professor of Outdoor Education and Recreation in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2020, TA was named to the “90 Greatest Canadian Explorers” List by Canadian Geographic. In 2022, TA was awarded the JL Paton Distinguished Professorship from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
TA’s adventures have taken her to 52 different countries and all seven continents. TA has climbed 6 and 4/5 of “The Seven Summits,” the highest peaks on all seven continents. Having experienced some of the world’s most breathtaking hikes, TA’s favourite is still the Piccos Ridge Path on the East Coast Trail. When TA is not hiking, teaching, or blogging, TA is likely growing or foraging her dinner or chasing a hockey puck on the ice. Check out TA’s posts for outdoor inspiration, practical hints, and some humour along the way.
Curtis Meeker is a hobbyist photographer and videographer with an interest in capturing the nature of Newfoundland and Labrador. Curtis is an educator based in St. John's and when not teaching he can be found hiking with his wife, Kailey, and his two dogs, Sophie and Rufus. One of his favourite scenic lookouts is the gorgeous Torbay Point along Cobbler's Path, especially at sunset.
Growing up in rural Newfoundland with ten siblings, Carolyn Murray was used to spending much of her time outside exploring the beautiful flora and fauna that is unique to the island. She rediscovered her love of the outdoors in 2012 when a friend invited her to walk Mickleens Path on the ECT. Since then, Carolyn has been hooked and has hiked 80+ different trails in the eastern region of the province and is already planning on tackling the west coast of Newfoundland. Carolyn thoroughly enjoys spending time with her family; she regularly hikes with a couple of her siblings and friends that are like family, and when not on the trails she can be found enjoying her own backyard with her husband, daughter, and her golden retriever (who was once an expert hiker herself!)
St. John’s-based photographer Stuart White started hiking and doing landscape photography about a decade ago. If you see Stu on the trail he is never without his hiking buddy, Loki. Loki is Stu’s 6-year-old rescue husky that has never missed a hike or photo shoot. Stu’s favourite hikes include The Skerwink Trail, The Shoreline Heritage Walking Trail, and The Gravels Path in Port-Au-Port West. When off the trail, Stu spends his time playing softball, curling, and spending time with his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Matt Woodland is a dedicated and active resident of the Burin Peninsula and his favourite views of this beautiful region can be seen from the trails there. Always accompanied by his trusted Border Collie, Nessie, Matt loves to hike all over the province but is an expert on the trails on the Heritage Run. His favourite hikes are The Marine Trail in Grand Bank and the The Cape Trail in St. Lawrence. When he’s not hiking, Matt enjoys spending time with his three amazing and energetic kids!
Though now based in Newfoundland and Labrador's capital city, Jackie moved here from the Caribbean country of Belize to study at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He quickly fell in love with our province's breathtaking landscapes, dramatic shorelines, and welcoming people and decided to call this place home too. His friendly nature led him to work in the hospitality industry and when he's not working he enjoys hiking, travelling, and photographing things he finds interesting. His favourite hike is a short, but sweet, hike on the East Coast Trail, the Silver Mine Path. You'll also see him frequent the North Head Trail on Signal Hill.