National park to Hossa to celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence

Press release 2016-12-15 at 13:34
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The Government has given a legislative proposal concerning the designation of areas in Hossa, Suomussalmi as the 40th national park in Finland.  The new national park is part of Finland’s centenary celebrations, as well as one of the key projects in the current government programme.  

The surface area of the national park, located in the Suomussalmi, Kuusamo and Taivalkoski municipalities, is about 11 000 hectares. The areas are owned by the State of Finland and they are included in the Natura 2000 network. At the heart of the national park is the Hossa hiking area of 9 000 hectares, including parts of the Kalevala Park and the Green Belt of Fennoscandia.  The famous Julma-Ölkky canyon lake is located in the part of the park located in Kuusamo. The ecological connectivity of the area is guaranteed by incorporating more than 900 hectares of State-owned commercial forest to the area.  The national park and buildings in it will be transferred to the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus.

About 1 200 hectares of State-owned lands and waters in the border area of the Hossa Natura area will be excluded from the national park. These will be utilised for tourism, trap fishing and recreational fishing based on stocked rainbow trout.  The special nature values and wilderness landscape will be preserved through zoning.

Reindeer herding will be allowed and herding cooperatives may continue to kill individual carnivores that cause damages to reindeer. There are some restrictions on fishing based on supplementary stocking. For the local people hunting opportunities will be about the same as now.

Kimmo Tiilikainen, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland, is very happy about the new national park: “Now we can celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence with this fantastic national park. Nature and cultural heritage in the area are rich and varied and they offer unique experiences to Finnish and foreign tourists who seek nature recreation and love the wilderness. We are already witnessing a growing interest in the area. The project has had strong local support from the very beginning and it will also promote local entrepreneurship and employment.” 

Pure Finnish nature attracts interest worldwide

During the centennial year the opportunities for international nature tourism to grow in Finland are perhaps better than ever before. In October the Lonely Planet travel guide selected Finland as the third best destination for tourism next year. Less than a month later the National Geographic Traveler selected Finland as one of the 21 best countries to travel in 2017. Both of these highly prestigious and widely read publications specifically mention the Hossa National Park as one of the criteria that influenced their choice.

The Hossa area is a mosaic of heath forest ridges with pines, small rivers and lakes with crystal-clear water, kettle ponds and kettle bogs. The general appearance is barren, with light in abundance.  Moilasenvaara is the exact opposite of Hossa. It is a realm of primeval twilight forests with decaying trees lying on the ground and abundant growth of various species of lichen, providing it with a very special nature conservation value. As an individual natural monument, Julma-Ölkky canyon lake is visually the most impressive. The rock paintings with human and animal figures scribbled on cliffs rising vertically from the lake are equally impressive as documentation of the long cohabitation of humans and nature in the area.

At total of EUR 2.5 million made available for establishing the national park are to be used over a period of three years. By these funds the Parks & Wildlife Finland of Metsähallitus has already started to repair and renovate the nature trails and other public services in Hossa so that it will sustain the growing numbers of visitors. The new trails will provide the best possible access to all, also taking account of the increasingly popular mountain biking. The Nature Centre will be completely renovated.

The act is to enter into force on 17 June 2017, when we will celebrate the opening of the Hossa National Park.

Inquiries:

Jyrki Peisa, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 364 0836, firstname.lastname@ym.fi
Jukka-Pekka Flander, Environment Counsellor, tel. +358 295 250 064, firstname.lastname@ym.fi
Johanna Korpi, Legal Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 278, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Julma-Ölkky is a gorgeous canyon lake. Photo: Metsähallitus / Mari Limnell
Julma-Ölkky is a gorgeous canyon lake. © Metsähallitus / Mari Limnell