Natural Features and History Of Southern Konnevesi National Park

Rough Cliffs and Lush Herb-rich Forests

Southern Konnevesi – the Rippling Heart of the National Park

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) – the Signature Species of the Southern Konnevesi National Park

History is Brought Alive all around the Park

Traces of the Asta Storm in the National Park

 

Rough Cliffs and Lush Herb-rich Forests

Magnificent scenery visible from Kalajavuori hill. Photo: Satu OjalaSouthern Konnevesi is a landscape of contrasts: wide open lake landscapes nestle amidst the Northern Savo hills, while green herb-rich forests can be found inland, behind the rough rocky shores. The large mainland section of the national park on the lake's eastern shore is a genuine hill landscape, where lush herb-rich depressions alternate with steep cliffs and shield bark pines decorate the clifftops. The variable topography of the three hills in Enonniemi – Kalajanvuori, Loukkuvuori and Kituvuori – offers challenges even for experienced hikers. One of the specialities of the hilly landscape is the regionally threatened snow saxifrage (Saxifraga nivalis). The plant mainly inhabits fell areas in Lapland.

Ancient natural forests have been preserved in the shelter of the hillsides, where giant bark-stemmed aspen trees are an ideal habitat for a large number of threatened species, including the bear (Ursus arctos), the lynx (Lynx lynx), the flying squirrel (Pteromys volans), three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) and a variety of threatened insects that thrive on rotting wood. Bracket fungi, lichens and mosses decorate the steep cliffs and tree stems. The bedrock in the park also contains alkaline rocks in places, which allows herb-rich forests to thrive in Enonniemi and on a number of islands. The tree species include goat willow (Salix caprea), aspen (Populus tremula), giant lime trees and other demanding species typical of herb-rich forests.

The giant aspens are really worthy of the name. Photo: Hanna Aho

Southern Konnevesi – the Rippling Heart of the National Park

Southern Konnevesi, the lake surrounding the national park, is the clear-watered central lake of the unregulated Rautalampi waterway. The cool lake waters of Southern Konnevesi are of excellent quality and among the key habitats of the wild brown trout (Salmo trutta lacustris) in southern Finland. The deepest known point of the lake is 57 metres. The bedrock in the Southern Konnevesi area is ancient, and over the course of time, various fractures, depressions and faults have created a ragged shoreline, with headlands and long coves being typical of the lake. The lake is dotted with hundreds of islands and islets.

The wide open waters of Southern Konnevesi. Photo: Jouni Lehmonen

Southern Konnevesi is surrounded by free-flowing rapids on both sides: Konnekoski to the east and Siikakoski to the west. The lake is a significant nesting and resting area for waterfowl. Explore Southern Konnevesi by travelling on the lake, wildlife watching or fishing. You can find the best known sandy beach of the lake on the Iso-Pyysalo island.

Iso-Pyysalon hiekkaranta.Kuva: Jere Ekosaari

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) – the Signature Species of the Southern Konnevesi National Park

The osprey is a large bird of prey found throughout Finland. It spends winters in Africa and, as a sedentary species, returns to its nest in April, when the lakes are freed of ice. The bird feeds almost exclusively on fish. It plunges feet first into the water and grabs the fish in its talons.

Ospreys mate for life and build a large nest of twigs, usually on the top of a pine. The nesting site must be easily accessible and have good visibility over the surrounding area. In addition, the tree must be very sturdy, as over the years the nest may gain hundreds of kilos of weight. The scarcity of suitable nesting sites is a problem for ospreys. Therefore, the nesting tree of an osprey is always protected in Finland. Man-made nests have been installed in the Southern Konnevesi area, and breeding in such nests has been successful. The population of the species in the Southern Konnevesi area is the densest in central Finland, with as many as 20 pairs.

Osprey. Photo: Markus Sirkka

History is Brought Alive all around the Park

The Rautalampi route has been an important waterway since prehistoric times: Stone Age residential sites and a burial mound dating back to the early Metal Age can be found on the shores of lake Konnevesi. Even today it is one of Finland's few long unregulated waterways. The route originates in the small mires and ponds of Northern Savo and ends in Lake Saraavesi in Laukaa in central Finland. In the south-eastern part of the park in Toussunlinna, you can find one of Northern Savo's rare rock paintings. The memorial trees on the Pohjois-Lanstu island tell us about 19th-century belief in the afterworld.

Traces of the Asta Storm in the National Park

The Asta storm in 2010 left a special trace in the national park. The downbursts of the storm swept over Rautalampi and Konnevesi, felling a large number of trees on the islands and mainland.

Destruction on the Iso-Häntiäinen island after the Asta storm. Photo: Jouni Lehmonen

The island of Iso-Häntiäinen, where the trees were almost completely destroyed by the storm, was restored through burning in 2012. It is interesting to observe how rapidly the forest regenerates on the island after the fire.

The island burns and regenerates. Photo: Jouni Lehmonen

Southern Konnevesi National Park

  • Established 2014
  • Area 15 km²

The Emblem of Southern Konnevesi National Park - Osprey

The emblem of Southern Konnevesi National Park is osprey.