Accreditation and licences

Land managers also realise that they have a specific responsibility not just for the land they manage, but also for the safety and well being of the people they permit to use that land. As litigation following accidents increases and overall use levels rise, land managers are looking for ways to ensure that those using outdoor recreation environments are doing so in the most responsible way, and also in the safest way for those they lead.

Outdoor leaders can therefore expect to be increasingly required to justify what skills and experience they have before taking novices and others into potentially hazardous outdoor environments. How will the land manager have confidence that the groups he or she permits to use an area are adopting the best safety procedures and demonstrating the best environmental ethics?

The answer is best provided by the outdoor recreation community itself, in demanding that those who purport to lead others into natural areas demonstrate that they have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the expedition they are undertaking. To protect themselves from litigation, land managers will be looking for outdoor recreation and education organisations to demonstrate that they have taken steps to ensure their leaders are adequately trained to deal with the situations likely to be encountered in the outdoors.

Almost all land managers already require commercially-based outdoor recreation and education operators to obtain permits for activities in parks, forests and other reserves. Such permits include public liability insurance requirements, group sizes and operating periods, and are increasingly seeking demonstration of either accreditation or appropriate training. Educational and community groups are also subject to these requirements, as land managers strive to ensure all organisations taking people into natural environments have the skills to be there and deal with situations that could be expected to arise.