Since July 1960 the Arnsberg Forest has been allowed to call itself a nature park and thus stands for an area dedicated to the protection and preservation of biological diversity and sustainable tourism.
The interests of agriculture, forestry, water management and hunting had to be taken into account and the districts of Arnsberg, Soest and Meschede, their towns and municipalities, the Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association), the forest farmers' association, the Sauerländer Gebirgsverein (Sauerland Mountain Association), the Ruhrtalsperrenverein (Ruhr Valley Dam Association) and other authorities and associations had to be persuaded to take joint action on a long-term basis. To this end, the two districts of Soest and Hochsauerland joined forces to form Zweckverband Naturpark Arnsberger Wald in 1961 after two years of constructive discussion and coordination. Since then they have maintained and promoted the nature park as a recreational area for the population and as a habitat for numerous animals and plants.
Thanks to continuous active work in the nature park, the Arnsberg Forest is now able to assert itself as an attractive destination for tourists from near and far. To ensure that the nature park can also be used as a recreational area by future generations, the special-purpose association works incessantly on nature conservation, improvements to the infrastructure within the forest and the promotion of environmental education measures for children, young people and adults.