3MT winner looks at impacts of mountain biking tourism on land management

Ted Morton won first place for his three minute presentation "The narcissist of land-use management,"

Out of six online presentations, Morton’s entry, “The narcissist of land-use management,” took first place. (Submitted)

Mountain biker and Master of Science in Environmental Science student Ted Morton came out on top at this year’s less than normal Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held in September, several months later than usual.

The 3MT is an international academic competition for graduate students to develop more robust and more effective communication skills by presenting a single static slide and their research to a panel of non-expert judges.

Acacia Pangilinan, executive director of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Christopher Foulds, editor of Kamloops This Week, and Katie Neustaeter, interim executive director of the United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo, judged the competition virtually this year.

Out of six online presentations, Morton’s entry, “The narcissist of land-use management,” took first place.

Morton’s research proposal would look at how mountain biking tourism and resource extraction interact with land-use management policy, the ongoing colonial disrupting of land-use and which practices are tolerable on land.

“Unfortunately, an increasing amount of forest fires, user conflicts between trail users and stakeholders and the desire to commodify the outdoors are creating land-use management issues that cannot be solved with historical land-use strategies,” Morton said in the video.

With his research, Morton intends to fill gaps left by previous research on the mountain biking industry’s ecological and economic impacts. He plans to look at how this tourism activity impacts power dynamics within land management and how land-use decisions could restrain or enhance social, cultural, or environmental development of rural and Indigenous tourism economies.

Morton has a unique first-hand perspective into the realm of mountain bike tourism, as the owner of the Canadian Enduro Series that operates mountain biking events across the country.

Findings from this research will assist rural and Indigenous stakeholders in creating and developing a more sustainable tourism management strategy that fits well within the social, political and environmental conditions impacting the province of B.C..

In addition to being awarded the $1,000 prize for first place, Morton moved on to the Western Canadian regional competition virtually hosted on Sept. 23 by the University of Alberta. Morton did not place in the final competition.