Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT)

Find a Consultant

Find a consultant (map below) or contact ANFT directly.

ANFT Certification Consultants are highly qualified professionals who have undergone extensive training and earned certification through ANFT as forest therapy guides. In addition to their comprehensive guide training, they have also completed specialized training to enhance their skills in consulting with land use managers, assessing site locations and providing recommendations for certification to ANFT’s global network of certified Forest Therapy Trails, Spaces & Places. To find an ANFT Certification Consultant in your area, please utilize the directory below. Our directory ensures that you have access to highly skilled, experienced professionals who can guide you through the certification process effectively.

Map of cert. consultants embed here


What is the certification criteria?

We consider any trail, space or places for designation. Each site is carefully assessed utilizing criteria that evaluate the ecological health of the site, ease of access and safety.  Additionally, we examine how infrastructure and signage can support both guided and self-guided Forest Therapy experiences.

These criteria provide a consistent standard for both forest therapy practitioners and participants. Certified forest therapy trails and sites offer an optimal environment for experiencing the therapeutic benefits of nature. Certified trails, spaces and places are specifically designated for their ability to provide interaction between participants and nature while promoting and fostering the ecological health and vitality of the site.

The evaluation and assessment encompasses six distinct categories: ecosystem health, safety, infrastructure, ease of access, design considerations, and management. Each category consists of multiple sub-scale elements that undergo thorough review. 

Ecosystem Health – Assessing ecosystem health is of paramount importance in the certification process as it directly relates to creating a supportive environment for forest therapy. Evaluating the health of the ecosystem involves considering factors such as the presence of native plants and animals, tree diversity, the availability of access to water sources, a lush and diverse tree canopy and understory, impacts of human activities, including the presence of invasive species. Additionally, the assessment extends to factors like sound-scape and light pollution, which can significantly impact the overall experience. Certified sites foster a thriving and resilient ecosystem, providing visitors with an immersive and authentic forest therapy experience that nurtures their well-being and connection with nature.

Safety – Certification criteria for forest therapy sites not only focus on the therapeutic aspects but also prioritize participant safety. The assessment process involves thorough evaluations of site safety measures and infrastructure considerations. This includes inspecting the presence and stability of railings and barriers where necessary, ensuring that hazardous trees or limbs are promptly identified and removed, assessing shoreline access and stream crossing safety, evaluation of potentially dangerous flora and fauna, and assessing the responsiveness of local law enforcement and emergency medical response systems. By assessing these safety factors, participants can engage in forest therapy with confidence, knowing that the site has been thoroughly vetted for potential risks. Such measures foster a sense of security, allowing individuals to fully embrace the healing benefits of nature.

Infrastructure – Evaluating the infrastructure of potential forest therapy sites, such as roads, parking lots, shelters, and restrooms, is a crucial step in the certification process. Ensuring good road conditions and sufficient parking spaces helps participants easily access the site and focus on their experience, without logistical challenges. The availability of shelters provides protection during inclement weather, allowing sessions to proceed smoothly. Well-maintained, clean restrooms contribute to participant comfort and hygiene, fostering a positive atmosphere. By thoroughly assessing and addressing these infrastructure aspects, forest therapy sites support an environment where participants can fully engage in the transformative practice of forest therapy.

Ease of Access – Assessing a candidate site for ease of access is important to ensure that forest therapy practices and experiences are as inclusive and accessible as possible to all individuals. The evaluation process involves considering the availability of parking and restroom facilities, entry fees and any other potential barriers to access. By thoroughly assessing these factors, forest therapy sites strive to create an inclusive environment, allowing individuals with diverse abilities and resources to fully participate and benefit from the experience. 

Design Considerations – A crucial step in the certification process is accessing existing site design features that have the potential to support optimal forest therapy experiences. This assessment involves evaluating various site design elements, including trail grade and width, identifying potential hazards, assessing the availability of gathering and resting places, considering scenic views, and examining the potential for off-trail access. By carefully evaluating these design features, ANFT can better determine if the site provides suitable conditions for visitors to engage in forest therapy, supporting a safe, comfortable, and immersive experience that maximizes the therapeutic benefits of the natural surroundings.

Management – For land managers or agencies responsible for managing a certified trail, space, or place, their approach is vital in supporting forest therapy and creating a conducive environment for visitors. A committed land manager or agency recognizes the value of forest therapy and incorporates it into their programming when possible. They prioritize establishing partnerships with various stakeholders, including local communities and government agencies in support of providing recreational and nature programming that supports the health and wellness of visitors and the site alike. Additionally, the land manager or agency provides consistent site maintenance and upkeep, ensuring that the area is well-maintained, safe, and welcoming for visitors. By stewarding these sites, land managers and agencies help create an environment that supports forest therapy, enhances visitor experiences, and fosters a lasting connection between people and the natural world.

The cost of certification is dependent on several key factors. In general, land managers can expect to invest approximately $1500 – $3000 for the certification of a trail, space or place. The total investment that the land manager will make will largely depend on the type/kind of signage or installations (sit spots, landscape features, safety enhancements, etc.) the land manager chooses to include and/or what is deemed essential to meet baseline certification standards. 

The fees associated with certification include: 

Consultant Fees
– The certification of a trail, space or place requires a thorough assessment by an ANFT Certification Consultant to determine if the site meets the standards and criteria required. ANFT Certification Consultants are certified Forest Therapy Guides that have undergone additional training and certification to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to guide and support land managers through the certification process. ANFT Certification Consultant fees are are dependent on the following factors:

  • Proximity to the project location
  • Number of site visits needed (or the number of hours expected to spend on the project)
  • Level of involvement and/or the development of a self-guide and invitations (if certifying a self guided or hybrid -guided and self guided experience)
  • Potential travel and/or lodging costs*

Typically ANFT Certification Consultants charge between $500 – $750 for phase 1 and $500 – $750 for phase 2 -OR-  $100 – $150 per hour (average consulting fees in the US) plus any travel or lodging that may be required. 

*Travel and/or lodging only applicable when an ANFT Certification Consultant is not geographically located within proximity to the Land Manager. 

Certification Sponsorship Fee – The certification sponsorship fee to be paid by the land manager to ANFT is $1000 USD (501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive up to a 30% DISCOUNT depending on your organization’s needs). ANFT provides full support and guidance throughout the certification process, including but not limited to review of all required site assessment and application documentation. This includes site photos and video documentation, proposed invitational signage (or other media type), self-guides, brochures and site maps. 

ANFT will also provide graphic design files for signage. Certification logos will be provided during Phase I of the project.  A low-resolution version will be shared initially and can be used for drafting proposed signage. A high-resolution version for printing/production will be shared upon certification. In addition, ANFT certified trails, spaces & places are featured prominently on ANFT’s website (on our Global Network of Certified Trails, Spaces & Places Map), announced in our monthly newsletter reaching over 25,000 individuals and shared on our multiple social media channels.

Signage – A sign indicating that the trail, space or place is an official ANFT certified Forest Therapy site will be required at the trailhead or near the entry to the site. Signs should stand a minimum of 4 feet above ground level with dimensions of no less than 16″ wide and 16″ high. QR codes should be placed on this signage to guide visitors to more information about Forest Therapy. Invitational and interpretive signage may also be utilized.

* For invitational signage, alternative and potentially more economical options are also acceptable (i.e. brochures, QR Codes, virtual guides, etc). Your ANFT Certification Consultant  can provide options that will support and reflect your specific site character and personality. 

Recommendations (essential and non-essential)
– Recommendations will be provided by the ANFT Certification Consultant upon completion of the initial assessment. 

Recommendations are either “essential” or “non-essential”.  Essential recommendations are typically improvements to safety. Examples of essential recommendations may include the removal of a hazardous tree or branch, a sign or indicator alerting visitors to a patch of poison oak or other poisonous plants, the installation of a guard rail or barrier when the risk of a serious fall or injury is likely. When a recommendation is deemed essential, the site cannot be granted certification until the recommendation has been addressed.

Non-essential (optional) recommendations may include the construction of a small tea hut, the installation of water features, the planting of fragrant herbs and flowers, installation of spaces where rocks can be moved freely, the installation of sit spot benches or inclined benches, trail modification to provide access to water or inner forest, and many more. 

Once a trail, space or place has been certified, the certification remains active in perpetuity (forever). When the land manager establishes a certified site, they are agreeing to ensure the trail and/or designated site is maintained in accordance with the standards established during the initial review and designation process, promptly making any necessary repairs when needed. 

Embed PDFs here for land managers to explore

Scroll to Top