röhrender Hirsch

Begegne Tieren und Natur auf Augenhöhe

How to behave in our forests

  1. Stay on the paths provided for you
  2. Behave foresighted and appropriate for the route and occurences
  3. Adjust your tempo so that you can react at any time
  4. Make yourself visable and show your presents to others in a polite manner
  5. Let other nature users facely
  6. Even the forest belongs to someone! Observe barriers and follow instructions
  7. Use the paths responsibly
  8. At dusk, avoid the forest
  9. Protect animals and plants and behave appropriately
  10. Take your rubbish back
  11. Keep dogs on the paths or on the leash (except in dangerous situations).

Dear Visitor,

We are looking forward to your visit to one of the largest contiguous forest areas in our country. We, the partners of Sauerland-Gebirgsverein eV, Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz NRW, Sauerland-Radwelt eV, Wisent-Welt-Wittgenstein eV, Sauerland-Tourismus eV, Tourismusverband Siegerland-Wittgenstein eV, Waldbauernverband NRW eV as well as the natural parks Sauerland-Rothaargebirge, Arnsberger Wald and Diemelsee, represent a ruthless co-existence of all natural users. Together, the aim is to shape the natural experience in Siegerland-Wittgenstein and in the Sauerland in a conflict-free manner and without compromising quality. We want to make people in nature, aware of property rights in the forest and nature conservation.The entrance to the forest is allowed for everyone with the purpose of recreation. However, there is no entry to some of the sensitive and easily damaged forests, for example, nature conservation areas and plantations. The same applies to fenced areas and paths.


In this case, the rules apply nationwide: you entered the forest on your own risk. Old and dead wood also belong to an intact forest. Parts of trees or whole trees, which are no longer used for forestry, can die. Dead branches and trees sometimes fall apart without wind or storm. Individual branches can break from the crowns of the trees and also fall on paths at any time. Please be aware of this danger and avoid the longer stay under dead trees. In case of strong wind and storm please leave the forest.


In the forest fire is forbidden. Smoking is forbidden from 1st March to 31st October.


If you are on the trails in the Sauerland and Siegerland-Wittgenstein, you will find pedestrians, cyclists and horses riders, as well as cross-country skiers in winter. They all unite the interest in nature and the goal of recreation. Encounters between athletes in nature are of mutual satisfaction when both sides behave respectfully:

How to behave in our forests (long version)

Stay on the paths provided for you.

Although entering the forest is permitted for pedestrians, special rules of the national nature conservation and state forest law in North Rhine-Westphalia and Hessen apply to other natural users. For example, cycling in the forest is permitted on so-called "fixed routes" (definition- for example, the judgment in VG cologne), riding in the forest is only possible on marked trails, except in the so-called relief areas. When arriving, always apply: Only park your vehicle on the designated parking lots.

Look ahead to the route and the events appropriately.

For your own and the other natural users safety, a predictive and appropriate behavior is important. In unseen passages and narrow as well as steep places obstacles or other nature users can appear at any time. Staying at such points is also at risk. Path conditions and weather conditions influence whether shoes, horse hooves or wheels provide sufficient support. For fast descents you have to be aware that at any time wild animals can also cross your path. This is especially for cyclists: you have to be able to stop in sight safely.

Adjust your tempo so that you can react at any time.

Reduce your speed as other users approach. This will allow you to react appropriately all the time.

Make yourself visable and also in a polite manner to the other hikers.

If you meet other nature users that you want to overtake, alert them in time if they have not already noticed you. We are all in favour for the resting in the nature and hope us a friendly coexistence.

Let other nature users pass through the area free of danger.

If someone is traveling faster or in another direction, let them pass you.

Even the forest belongs to someone! Observe barriers and follow instructions.

The forests in Wittgenstein, Siegerland and Sauerland belong to private owners, cities and municipalities as well as to the state. The forest plays an important economic role for these owners, especially for private forest owners. Respect the rights of the landowners and have an understanding if you are experiencing traces of forestry in your activities, if timber transports or forestry people use their vehicles to drive through the forest, when pathways are affected by economic activity or you are warned of the dangers caused by cutting down trees. Please pay attention to these only briefly set up signposts, because if you don't follow those warnings, your life might be in danger.

Use the paths responsibly

The paths that are available for your enjoyment are the forestry life-areas. They are mainly built for the management of the forest and are regularly repaired. But the paths are natural to a large extent. Improper driving can lead to severe erosion damage. Above all, unencumbered or fine cover fastened ways are damaged by careless braking maneuvers.

At dawn and darkness, avoid the forest.

Particularly between sunset and sunrise, there is a need for correct behavior in the forest. The animal world is particularly disturbed by noise and bright light. At these times avoid stays and the use of bright lights in the forest.

Protect animals and plants and behave appropriately.

Many wild animals live in the forests of Wittgensteiner Land, Sauerland and Siegerland. Deer, black deer (wild deer), muffle deer as well as wisents can be seen and cross your way here in the forest. The risks of these animals for the normal hiker are low and can be reduced to an absolute minimum by respectful behavior. Mothers have an absolute urge to protect their young animals. This applies to all wild species. If there is a meeting, especially for encounters with wild boars or wisents:


  • Walk quietly and unobtrusively at a distance past the animals, do not frighten the animals and do not look straight into their eyes.
  • Look for threatening gestures! If a sows "rattle with its teeth" or a Wisent lowers its head, then retreat straight away!
  • If the animals approach, remain calm, do not turn your back on the animal, and leave the area without fuss, but always with a view to the animal. If the animals approach you to a distance that makes you uncomfortable, call loudly, whistle or make yourself audible in any other way.
  • Also consider the handling of wild animals and your dog (s.u.).


Dealing with ticks

In order to prevent an infection, it is necessary to look carefully, after forest walks, to find ticks before they puncture your skin, especially if you had direct contact with grasses and bushes. If you remove the tick with a suitable agent within the first 24 hours, the infection probability is significantly reduced. For more information about how to deal with ticks, click here.

Please do not damage plants and fungi and do not rip them out. They could be protected. Misbehavior can lead to penalties. To collect mushrooms and berries, you must follow the rules.

Take your rubbish back!

If you leave your waste, you endanger the animal and plant life and destroy the landscape image for other nature users and yourself. Take your waste home with you to dispose it properly.

Keep dogs only on the roads and on the leash (except in dangerous situations).

Anyone traveling with their dog is obliged to keep it under control so other naturel users are not unsettled. Away from paths, you may only lead your dog on a leash. If an animal is attacking your dog, let your dog go! The dog is faster and more agile than you and will definitely find you again.

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