- An interested region (tourism body, National Park, walking group, etc.) contacts the ERA to start the quality process.
- The ERA offers a 2-day European-wide uniform course for assessors in the region.
- The trained persons gather the data necessary for the quality assessment on the trails and assess them initially (analysis of strength and weakness). Thus shortcomings in the quality of the route can be identified quickly and possibilities for upgrades can be found.
- When the route fulfills the ‘Quality route’ criteria, an application for certification can be applied for with the ERA.
- The data gathered on the route are independently assessed and analysed by the ERA. Qualified ERA personnel carry out spot checks on the route locally.
- When the results of the checks are positive, the route gets the certification ‘Leading Quality Trails’ for the period of 3 years. After this time, the quality of the route has to be tested again. The quality mark can be used in printed matter and on the internet to market the walking route.
The ERA appointed the Deutscher Wanderverband Service Ltd. with the implementation of the ‘Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe’.
Nature conservation The proposer confirms that the route of the walking trail complies with all environmental protection regulations (particularly in sensitive areas like natural reserves, biotopes, etc.).
Maintenance The proposer guarantees for the complete period of use of the certification that maintenance of the trail - surface and furniture - is ensured. The ongoing regular inspections and care has to be documented and sent to the ERA. The fundamental principles of ERA General Principes for Marking (Bechyné/ Czech Republic, 2004).
Validity period The certification period starts with the handing over of the certificate and runs for 3 years.
Co-operation All affected interest groups that are part of the quality process in the trail region have to be involved by the proposers from the very start. Interested parties can include forest services, NPWS, tourism groups, mountaineering organisations, walking clubs, land owners, local authorities and communities.
European Ramblers‘ Association (ERA)
Wilhelmshöher Allee 157-159
phone +49 (0)5 61 / 9 38 73 - 0
fax +49 (0)5 61 / 9 38 73 - 10