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Introduction

Green Flag Trails is an international trail accreditation based on: 

  • Accurate trail information and environmental characteristics
  • Safety and services
  • Environmental condition
  • Responsible  Management

The experience of hiking a trail, is not walking along a linear stretch of land…it is a series of experiences linked together by a path or destination, where the path, when  well maintained and sustainably designed, does not draw attention to itself, but rather facilitates the experiences we then collectively call a trail.

Trails are the original pathways of connection, linking our communities to resources for survival, connecting us to other communities and to nature.

Today, trails offer healthy recreation and tourism activities to visitors and locals alike. They allow us to directly experience a place, its natural surroundings and cultural heritage.

Trails are a valuable and significant asset to any community and like all infrastructure assets they require careful planning, on-going care, maintenance and improvement to ensure they continue to deliver benefits to all users.

Trail managers require first-hand knowledge of trail conditions to determine maintenance schedules, budgets and construction needs. Without a clear and consistent system in place for monitoring trails and aligning them to a set of defined trail standards, trail maintenance becomes haphazard and may result in poorer trail conditions and concomitant deterioration of the resource.

To secure the social, economic and environmental benefits trails create for any community, it is essential to have a strong and simple system in place to care for the trails themselves. Timely interventions can save a lot of money and can avoid unnecessary injuries or deaths resulting from degraded trails.

An objective system that assesses, monitors and accredits a trail will increase the skills of local trail custodians and managers and ensure ongoing enjoyable experiences by trail users.