The European Ramblers’ Association (ERA) is a prominent and influential umbrella organization founded in Germany in 1969. Comprising approximately 60 member walking organizations from around 30 European countries, ERA is a unifying force that advocates for and promotes walking as a recreational activity and means of connecting with nature and culture across the continent.
With a membership totaling around 3 million individual members, ERA represents a diverse and extensive network of individuals passionate about walking, hiking, and mountain-climbing. The association’s members have a wealth of experience in organizing and facilitating walking activities, and many of the member organizations boast a history of over a century, some even spanning more than 150 years.
ERA’s mission is centered on fostering networking and cross-border cooperation among its member organizations. The association places a strong emphasis on ensuring respectful treatment, expertise, and shared values in all matters related to walking and outdoor recreation. Through collaborative efforts and exchange of best practices, ERA strives to enhance the quality of walking experiences for both locals and tourists alike.
The vision of ERA is to be widely recognized all over Europe as the foremost expert in all walking-related issues, earning a reputation as a relevant, proactive, and credible partner. By actively engaging with various stakeholders, including governments, international organizations, and fellow advocacy groups, ERA aims to contribute significantly to the promotion and preservation of walking routes, cultural heritage, and the natural environment.
The core objects of ERA encompass a range of essential goals. These include promoting walking and mountain-climbing activities while instilling a sense of responsibility and care for the countryside and the environment. ERA takes an active role in creating and marking European long-distance paths, protecting these routes, as well as other international paths, to ensure their continued existence and accessibility.
Another key focus of ERA is safeguarding and advancing the rights and traditions associated with crossing borders within European countries, thus preserving Europe’s cultural heritage. The association also works towards preserving the right of access to all land, emphasizing that this objective should not compromise the protection of the natural environment.
ERA’s commitment to mutual understanding and cultural exchange is evident in its efforts to strengthen bonds between people through walking activities and engagement with nature. Additionally, the association represents the interests of its member associations in international organizations like the European Union and the Council of Europe, ensuring that walking and outdoor activities are considered in relevant policy discussions and decisions.
Lastly, ERA seeks to raise awareness about the importance of physical activity, particularly walking, in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By advocating for the benefits of walking and promoting physical activity, the association actively contributes to the well-being of individuals and communities across Europe.
Overall, the European Ramblers’ Association plays a vital role in advocating for walking, fostering cooperation among walking organizations, and preserving Europe’s diverse natural and cultural heritage. Through its tireless efforts, ERA continues to inspire countless individuals to explore the beauty of the outdoors, forge connections with nature, and appreciate the value of physical activity in their lives.