The Importance of Sports in the Forest

Trail runners in the forest

Doing sports in the forest is becoming increasingly important in our society. Physical exercise in the fresh forest air increases well-being and enables effective relaxation.

Responsible athletes take each other into consideration, understand forest management and respect the barriers required for safety reasons. Like the advocacy of the Agroforestry Group, 27 other associations and institutions have signed the “Forest and Sport Agreement”. The aim of this agreement is to support the recreation and sporting activities of people in the forest and to help avoid conflicts.

The “Round Table Forest and Sport” goes back to the deliberations on the Hessian Forest Act. At that time, the associations and the ministry had agreed to discuss the topic of entry rights in connection with a sporting activity in the forest again. The aim of the “Round Table Forest and Sport” is to promote the recreation and sporting activity of people in the forest on the basis of forestry regulations. The aspects of nature conservation, environmental education, and sustainability play a special role. The “Round Table Forest and Sport” contributes to the further development of the forest as a recreational area and at the same time strengthen the understanding of the forest as a living and natural space as well as an economic area.


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A code of conduct was jointly developed that is valid for all forest visitors, in particular for athletes. This includes 15 rules of conduct, such as mutual consideration when meeting other forest visitors or the appeal to keep the forest clean and not to leave any garbage. Also, only paths should be driven and ridden. In doing so, forest visitors should always maintain an appropriate speed and protect the forest paths. Likewise, no recreational facilities, sports facilities, and cross-country ski trails should be damaged.

The partners of the “Round Table Forest and Sport” have agreed to meet once a year if possible to discuss the progress of their cooperation and to exchange new information. In order to resolve or avoid conflicts in the field of forests and sports, the Hessian forestry authorities and the Hessen-Forst state enterprise will support the institutions and associations in the control of leisure or sports activities in the forest required in individual cases and involve them in good time. Finally, the partners agreed to inform their members about the guidelines and rules of conduct of the agreement.

Be sure to observe the rules of conduct in the forest.