Procedure for Attaining Green Flag Trails Status
A. Baseline Assessment – Full Green Flag Trails Certification
Trail owners that apply for Green Flag Trail accreditation will be visited by a certified assessor who will prepare a report of the trail according to the steps listed below.
- A trail owner or trail management authority applies online for accreditation.
- Green Flag Trails requests quotations from Assessors in closest proximity to the trail.
- If the quote is accepted by the owner, a deposit of 50% is paid to the assessor, after which the trail is then visited by the assessor.
- If there are rectifications to be made on the trail that inhibits the allocation of Green Flag certification, the owner is informed that he has to present Green Flag with a plan of action with an accompanying anticipated programme (with target dates) for the upgrading.
- If such rectifications however involve safety issues or any other prohibitive aspects such as unacceptable conditions (e.g. very poor access road), the trail will not be accredited unless these have been brought into effect. This entails more than a “letter of intent” by the owner and might require a second inspection entailing cost.
- Green Flag Trails will analyze the fieldwork forms and report, assess the owner’s plan of action and present the final report to the assessor as well as to the Quality Control committee for verification.
- If acceptable to all concerned, the owner is informed by the assessor of the result.
- If all involved are satisfied, and the full amount paid by the owner, the information is transformed to the require format and sent to the webmaster for entry on the website greenflagtrails.org.
- Four trail photographs of good quality can be sent by the owner to the webmaster for placement on the website.
- The owner is responsible to notify Green Flag Trails of any changes between formal assessments.
- A certificate of accreditation is sent to the owner.
- The owner will be presented with a schedule of maintenance that he has to complete after each inspection.
- It is compulsory that a Trail Users Feedback Form be made available to trail users to be able to report back to Green Flag Trails as to conditions on the trail.
- Copies of Green Flag Trails reports will be kept on file for future use. The report acts as a document reflecting the baseline conditions and any future assessments will have to ascertain if there is improvement or deterioration.
- Currently assessments are done every two years. A system of self-assessment has recently been introduced.
- Once the Assessment Report is completed and submitted for verification, the Accreditation Fee payable to Green Flag Trails, will need to be settled before the accreditation is awarded.
B. Assessment (2nd Assessment)
Follow-up assessments are normally done every two to three years (based on the sensitivity of the environment) but a system of interim self-assessment is available under special conditions – to be applied for by the trail owner.
- A questionnaire is to be provided to all trail users in which they can indicate problems on the trail. The Green Flag Trails International Committee will assess this feedback and act accordingly.
- The owner is required to provide a maintenance plan for the upkeep of the path and facilities, substantiated with photographs where relevant.
- The owner will be reminded bi-annually to update the website listing on www.greenflagtrails.org to ensure that all the information remains up to date with trail conditions.
- The safety of the trail is the responsibility of the trail owners and management. Spot checks will be done by certified Green Flag Trail assessors as part of the programme, any serious issues reported will necessitate a re-accreditation.
C. Preliminary Self-Assessment
The trail owner completes a downloadable form from Green Flag Trails and prepares a report of the trail. This is then submitted to Green Flag Trails, who on acceptance of the report meeting specific standards, awards a certification of Self Assessment. Such a trail will appear on the website with the inscription that it has been self-assessed and is not fully Green Flag Trail certified. It signifies intent from the owner to deliver responsible trail products.