The most important uses of Viiankiaapa have been mowing, hunting and fishing. People in the area lived in a subsistence economy, and the old uses of the mire supported their livelihoods. Livestock farming has been practised ever since the 18th century. Pressure to use the meadows continued up until the 20th century. There were many mire meadows near Lake Pikku Moskujärvi, as well as along the River Ylijoki, with dozens of barns between Moskuvaara and Siurunmaa. The oldest barns were built more than one hundred years ago. Hay was also made at the western edge of the area, in Tihiämaa. Barns were not built on land rented from the state, though hay was also made there. Residents of nearby villages, at least those of Kersilö, Moskuvaara and Puolakkavaara, came to the area to make hay. An oak was placed in the ditch called Tiukuoja to raise the water to the meadow. Hay-making ended in Viiankiaapa in the early 1950s. Most of the barns were then moved to fields.

Photo: Aarne Harju

On the western shore of Lake Viiankijärvi is an old mire meadow, which was last mown in the 1950s. Today, there are only some remains of hay-drying frames visible. At the southern end of Lake Viiankijärvi, there is an old meadow/fishing cabin, whose roof has half-collapsed and whose sub-base has been badly soaked by water.

The brook in Heinäaapa has been cleared on several occasions – the first time by hand in the 1960s and next in the 1970s. The Finnish Road Administration excavated the ditch in circa 1980, when a culvert was installed under the road. Heinäaapa has been a good mire for mowing. An oak was placed in the brook near the current power transmission line to raise the water to the mire. The water was raised for winter and lowered the following summer before log driving. Heinäaapa was where people from Moskuvaara came to mow hay. In the early 1980s, an offset ditch was excavated at the edge of the mineral soil and the mire to protect the well of a nearby house, as it was feared that the high rust content of the marsh saxifrage spring would spoil the water of the well. A further aim was to grow the birch stand on the northern side of the ditch. The area was partly restored in summer 2003.

Timber from a nearby logging site was driven along the River Ylijoki in the early 1950s. In Särkikoskenmaa, you can still see the remains of an old loggers' cabin and old stumps as a reminder of the area's forestry use. For the purposes of log driving, ditches were dug in Ylijoki to straighten the winding river. There has also been a loggers' cabin in Petäjäsaaret, and selection felling has probably been carried out in the area in the early 1900s. Privately-owned forests outside the mire reserve, in the northern part of the area, have also been logged. These plots have since then been acquired by the state and annexed to the Natura site. Otherwise, the forests in the area have not been used for decades.

The Tiukuoja ditch was fished for perch and roach. Lake Viiankijärvi provided large pikes and perch, as well as ducks. Nest boxes were built for waterfowl to get eggs in early summer, when there was a shortage of food. Torch-fishing was practised in the River Ylijoki, and squirrels and land birds performing their spring courting rituals were hunted in the area.