New national park to celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence

Press release 2016-01-22 at 11:20
Hossa
Hossa area. Photo: Sirke Seppänen, Metsähallitus

Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen has proposed areas in Suomussalmi and Kuusamo in north-eastern Finland to be designated as the commemorative national park for Finland's 100th year of independence 2017.   Establishing a national park was also one of the key projects in the current government programme.

The main criterion for choosing the jubilee year's national park was that the area had an important role in the process of Finland gaining independence and in preserving it.  The selection was supported by local consensus on the national park and broad commitment to the nature conservation objectives involved.  The national park will also promote the already abundant opportunities for recreation and hiking in the area and the associated businesses, which is highly significant for the local economy and employment.

The surface area of the national park in Hossa and Moilasenvaara in Suomussalmi and Julma-Ölkky in Kuusamo 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.

Julma-Ölkky 1. Kuva Mari Limnell, Metsähallitus.jpeg
Julma-Ölkky canyon lake.
Photo: Mari Limnell, Metsähallitus

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, while the Värikallio 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. 

"To celebrate the 100th year of Finland's independence we wish to add this magnificent Hossa area to the national park network, thus also showing our respect for the work for Finland's independence done by the people living in the area", says Minister Tiilikainen.

The Ministry of the Environment will start to prepare the act on the Hossa national park later this spring, and decisions will also be made then on the final name and borders of the park.

Finland’s big year 2017

Suomi 100 -tunnus

Finland became an independent state on 6 December 1917. The new state was born after a long struggle. In spite of many hardships, the Finns have worked together for the past hundred years to build their country. Now they are entering the next hundred years with the same courage and determination.

The centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017 will be the most significant commemorative year for this generation of Finns. It will provide opportunities to better understand the past, experience the jubilee year together and set the course for Finland’s future success.

Inquiries:

Jukka-Pekka Flander, Senior Environmental Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 064, firstname.surname@ymparisto.fi