About the project
The Green Trails are a project that is being implemented jointly by 15 municipalities (Bad Arolsen, Bad Wildungen, Battenberg, Diemelsee, Diemelstadt, Edertal, Hatzfeld, Korbach, Lichtenfels, Twistetal, Vöhl, Volkmarsen, Waldeck, Willingen and the district). In the 14 towns and communities, so-called "trail parks" are to be gradually created from around 200 kilometers of newly built trail. These parks will be linked to each other by around 200 kilometers of existing trails. The aim is to promote tourism in the region, to create another sporting opportunity for the population and to convey an understanding of mutual cooperation, nature and its creatures.
Many people, when they hear the words "trails" or "trail parks", have routes in mind where only sporty and experienced mountain bikers can have fun. But the Green Trails are about something completely different. In the district, trails are being built that do not yet exist in this region. Children, teenagers, adults and seniors should feel comfortable on the trails and be able to ride them without any problems. This also does not require a special mountain bike. The Green Trails are thus under the motto "Trails for everyone".
However, this motto is not only relevant when driving the routes. As early as the planning stage, it is important to talk to a wide variety of interest groups and representatives and to avoid conflicts from the outset that might occur at certain points in the forest. In addition, since the Green Trails should be a nature experience for its visitors, it is also important to pay attention to nature and protect it. In planning, construction and use, the focus is clearly on nature compatibility.
Frequently asked questions:
Can the connecting paths be routed past stores or the like?
Yes. The plan is to define the connecting routes so that they provide the most benefit to local businesses.
Are associations such as NABU involved?
From the very beginning of this project, the environmental service, as the approval authority, as well as the domanial administration with the district heads and HessenForst were involved. In addition, interest groups such as NABU have been and will continue to be involved in the future.
Will nature be affected by the project?
The aim of this project is, among other things, to bring the users closer to the forest and nature. One of the activity pillars explicitly includes the experience of nature. Thus, it is of great concern to all participants to burden nature as little as possible. For this reason, the environmental service, as the approval authority, as well as the Domanialverwaltung with the district administrations and Hessen Forst were involved from the outset. The project office also has a very large database of nature conservation information. These are taken into account during planning and can be bypassed from the outset. In addition, indications from stakeholders are also included in the planning.
Aren't we destroying the rest of our nature with this project?
The trails are laid out in a very nature-friendly way. You often don't even need an additional surface, but use the materials on site. In addition, no large excavators or other tools are needed, so that the area around the trail does not take major damage. In addition, critical areas are bypassed.
Is there a risk of erosion with the newly built trails?
In contrast to "wild" trails, which often run steeply through the terrain or forest roads which have a gradient / slope of over 10%, the slope of the trails is rather low. In addition, the trails are designed/built in such a way that water does not run off on the trails and thus cannot cause erosion gullies or the like. Through high-quality construction, the water is directed in such a way that erosion thus does not occur in the first place.
Will wildlife be affected by trail parks?
Use of the trails is generally limited to daytime. Thus, the activity times of humans and animals do not overlap. Experiences from Willingen have confirmed that the animals are hardly or not at all affected by the mountain bikers.
At what times can the trails be ridden?
General rules for the use of the trails should be established, in which, in principle, use in the dark is also prohibited.
Where can visitors dispose of their trash?
With different marketing measures more consciousness for nature is to be created. In the general rules of use, among other things, it is pointed out that the garbage is to be taken away again. At service stations or the like, opportunities to dispose of trash should also be set up.
Does this project not cause collisions between different user groups (farmers, pedestrians, equestrians, or similar)?
The bicycle market is booming and in many areas, including the Waldeck-Frankenberg district, cyclists are becoming independent. People ride on hiking trails, field and forest paths or even in the forest, where purely optically a path could be. This process cannot be prevented. However, it is possible to have a direct influence on where cyclists ride. To be able to do this, an offer must be created, which creates the incentive to want to ride there. This is what the project achieves. Bicyclists are guided along the desired trails and paths, thus calming the potential for conflict between user groups. In addition, "wild riding" is prevented and nature is relieved.
Will construction also take place on private land?
Areas that are publicly owned were selected for the trail parks. There are no plans to build on private land.
Why does the southern district (apart from Battenberg and Hatzfeld) not participate in this project?
In 2019, a public-law agreement for a feasibility study was concluded with the 14 municipalities that wanted to participate in the planning. At that time, the southern district decided not to participate in this project. At that time, however, the goals were not as clearly defined as they are now. However, the municipalities still have the option of joining the special-purpose association.
How will the connection to Battenberg and Hatzfeld be created?
When the trail parks are gradually built in the county municipalities, mountain bikers will first have to ride through the municipalities that are not currently participating in the project. However, the neighboring municipalities from NRW have already expressed great interest. Therefore, there is also the possibility to create the connection via NRW.