Summary of ERAs history

Summary of “ERA history contribution – Ingemund Hägg”

Background and Formation of the Walking Commission:

  • The document provides a historical account of the European Ramblers’ Association (ERA) with a focus on the Walking Commission (Wanderkommission) formed in 1977.
  • Ingemund Hägg from the Swedish Tourist Association (STF) played a pivotal role, initially serving as the commission’s secretary.
  • The commission was established to complement the Wegekommission, which focused on E-paths.

Objectives and Initiatives:

  • The Walking Commission aimed to centralize information on walking in Europe, promote the dissemination of walking-related information among member organizations, and facilitate the exchange of walking groups across countries.
  • The commission’s early initiatives included creating a register of member organizations, encouraging information exchange, promoting group walking abroad, and developing a publication of recommended walks in each country.

Key Projects and Publications:

  • Walking in Europe (1978): A comprehensive guide initially published in Swedish and later translated into multiple languages. It provided detailed information about walking in various European countries.
  • Three Recommended Walks (1983): A booklet offering recommended walking routes in different countries to encourage international walking experiences.
  • A Walker’s Guide to Europe (1983): Co-authored by Arthur Howcroft, this publication aimed to provide practical walking guidance across Europe.

Environmental and Public Access Concerns:

  • Environmental concerns were first addressed by the commission in 1983, highlighting the importance of balancing walking activities with nature conservation.
  • Use of Footpaths Study (1991-1992): A questionnaire study examining the usage patterns of footpaths across Europe. Findings indicated a preference for short, informal group walks with minimal conflicts with other path users.
  • Public Access Action Programme (1999): This program aimed to support and improve public access rights for walkers across Europe, advocating for no fees for access and promoting way-marking footpaths.

European Code of Good Walking (2002):

  • The commission developed a European Code of Good Walking, emphasizing respect for local customs, property, and the environment. This code aimed to harmonize good walking practices across different European countries.

Newsletters and Communication:

  • The commission recognized the need for better communication among member organizations, leading to the publication of a trilingual newsletter starting in 1992.

Summary of “Arthur Howcroft – ERAhistoryExtract – by I. Hägg”

Arthur Howcroft’s Contributions:

  • Arthur Howcroft, a prominent figure in the ERA, chaired the newly formed Walking Commission in 1977. He played a significant role in shaping the commission’s objectives and activities.
  • Under his leadership, the commission focused on making ERA a central information hub for walking in Europe, facilitating international information exchange, and promoting group walking activities.

Significant Milestones and Projects:

  • Ferienwanderungen (1978): Recognized as an important publication for the commission’s work, providing essential walking information from member countries.
  • Craig Evans’ Projects: Supported significant walking projects such as “On foot through Europe” and contributed to the publication of “A Walker’s Guide to Europe” (1983).
  • Three Recommended Walks (1983): Compiled by Gie Beirnaert and Ingemund Hägg, this project aimed to encourage international walking experiences.

Environmental Focus and Publications:

  • Environmental issues were brought into focus by Howcroft in 1983.
  • International Grading System for Walking Difficulty (1987): Introduced to standardize the grading of walking routes across Europe.

Publications and Translations:

  • Walking in Europe (1978): Initially published in Swedish and translated into several languages, this guide provided extensive information on walking opportunities in Europe.
  • European Code of Good Walking (2002): Developed to harmonize walking practices and promote respect for local customs and the environment.

Public Access and Advocacy:

  • Use of Footpaths Study (1991-1992): Examined walking habits and footpath usage across Europe, highlighting the need for better access and minimal conflicts with other users.
  • Public Access Action Programme (1999): Aimed to strengthen public access rights for walkers and ensure no fees were charged for access.

Both documents highlight the ERA’s commitment to promoting walking, facilitating international cooperation, and addressing environmental and public access issues. Arthur Howcroft’s leadership and contributions significantly shaped the ERA’s initiatives and publications, fostering a greater appreciation for walking across Europe.