Poet's Table: Secret Places of the Black Hills, South Dakota

Authors: David Leiferman*, South Dakota State University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Environmental Perception
Keywords: Secret places, social trails
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This study reveals how local respondents define secret places in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It specifically examines Poet’s Table, an unofficial, off-trail, and hidden place. Hikers that find Poet’s Table often choose to sit and write their thoughts in journals kept in a cupboard, while looking out across a natural landscape. This research briefly surveys what and why hikers choose to write about at this natural destination. Initial interviews, focus groups, surveys, and observations helped determine what local respondents thought about their specific secret places and how they are managed. Using verbal coding to analyze opinions regarding unofficial social trails leading hikers off established trails, this research investigates how individuals learn about specific secret locations and their personal experiences finding them. Local respondents determined that anyone seeking secret places must appreciate and earn the privilege of finding them.

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