A place to get it all back: the cultural landscape of cottagers in Nopiming Provincial Park

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Zielinski, Anjanette
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Second home use or cottaging is an increasingly desirable practice across Canada. In Manitoba, cottaging sub-divisions are generally situated along lakes and rivers in the province, many of which are situated on Crown land or in provincial parks. This study explored what is meaningful about cottaging to bring about a better understanding of the importance of cottaging as a culturally meaningful social practice. The objectives of the research were to identify what makes Flanders Lake and surrounding area of Nopiming Provincial Park a meaningful place for cottagers; determine if there are shared meanings among cottagers; and consider the implications of the cultural landscape of cottagers for natural resource management. The case study research considered the sense of place that is derived from cottagers’ experiences and what specifically contributes to the significance of cottage culture in the cottaging sub-division of Flanders Lake, Manitoba. A qualitative, interpretive research design was used for data collection. Photo-elicitation also known as resident employed photography was used, whereby cottagers were asked to photograph things, places or people that represented meaningful aspects about cottaging and the surrounding area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with individual participants to validate and triangulate perspectives. Using NVivo 7 qualitative software to manage data and elicit themes, a cultural landscape framework of cottagers was developed. Cottagers cited recreational activities, connections with people, interactions with nature and the tonic-like effects of cottaging experiences, as the most meaningful aspects of cottaging. The study showed that it is possible to determine the most meaningful aspects of a place, and that many of those attributes are shared between community members. However, dissecting those meanings into constituent parts of a collective body of shared, interrelated and sometimes dependent meanings is complex, and not always possible. Further study on the cultural landscape of additional cottaging communities and of other area stakeholders is recommended given the increasing desirability and interest in cottaging, and potential for negotiating place meanings in multiple land use areas.
cottaging, parks, cultural landscape, place, second home, Manitoba, Nopiming, photo-elicitation