Lapland, northern Lapland Inari
, in Norwegian) Vätsäri Wilderness Area
, the Øvre Pasvik National Park
(www.bioforsk.no, in English)
The Piilola Trail is a historical wilderness trail in the boreal coniferous forest zone. This 35-km-long summer hiking trail connects Norway's Øvre Pasvik National Park and Finland's Vätsäri Wilderness Area. The trail is best suited to experienced hikers.
The landscape along the hiking trail chiefly consists of pine-dominated rocky heaths. The old-growth forests, the medium-sized clear lakes as well as the small rivers and mires bring open space and variety to the forest landscape. Although nature does not recognise State borders, there are differences in the natural scenery (such as landforms) in Norway and Finland.
In the wilderness, observant hikers will see signs of wilderness animals and the cycle of nature. There is a row of holes on the side of a pine at the spot where a three-toed woodpecker has looked for food under the pine bark. The wilderness is also home to bears – the crushed anthills are evidence of their presence. As the boreal coniferous forest zone undergoes various stages of development, forest fires and storms contribute greatly to its regeneration. The fire scars on the sides of the large pines tell a story of the forest fires that raged in the area long ago. The tree trunks that have fallen in one direction in a specific area reveal the course of a powerful storm.
The Piilola Trail is also a cultural route on which you can catch a glimpse of how life in the wilderness was in the past. Life at the wilderness farms on the shores of lakes rich in fish was based on self-sufficiency. The inhabitants kept a few cows and reindeer, they fished and hunted and led, from a modern perspective, a simple life far away from the population centres. The hiking trail runs along the old routes between the wilderness farms and the villages of Nellim in Finland and Vaggetem in Norway. The carved markings on the sides of old pines are signs of a route used in the past. The depopulation of the Vätsäri wilderness farms began in the 1970s. Today, Vätsäri is a quiet wilderness area where the locals carry out reindeer husbandry and go hunting and fishing.
The international atmosphere of the Piilola Trail adds to its uniqueness. The Piilola Trail was created as a result of nature conservation and nature-based tourism cooperation between Norway, Russia and Finland. The hiking trail runs through the Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park
(pasvik-inari.net), which is located in Norwegian, Russian and Finnish territory.
This is the web page www.nationalparks.fi/piilolatrail