Are you a steward of a natural area, such as a park, botanical garden, arboretum, resort, spa, or retreat center? Creating a Certified Forest Therapy Trail on your site for guided and self-guided walks can attract people and enhance membership and return visits. Trail Certification and Forest Therapy walks offer an additional opportunity for programming, providing visitors with an experience that facilitates a connection with nature through intimate and sensory activities.
A Forest Therapy Trail is a path or area where people with a wide range of fitness levels can interact with nature, primarily through their senses. They do not always conform to typical ideas of what constitutes a ‘trail.’ Some trails are found in more traditional settings, like arboretums and botanical gardens, while other places might include spas, hospital gardens, farms, urban parks, retreat centers, and many more.
We consider trails for certification based initially on criteria such as accessibility, safety, biodiversity, natural features, and management. Additionally, we consider how infrastructure and signage can promote both guided and self-guided Forest Therapy experiences on the trail. We strive to affirm the beauty and dignity of all ecosystems, and so a simple question to ask in the beginning is, "‘Is this a place where people connect deeply with nature?"’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ then we believe this is a good candidate trail.
Forest Therapy Trail networks are being developed throughout the world. ANFT has developed a process and criteria for certifying Forest Therapy Trails in conjunction with the standards used to train Forest Therapy guides. Urban Edge's and ANFT’s trail certification process draws from our belief that the simple act of going outside is healthy for our minds, bodies, and spirit.