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55,000 people participated in Finnish Nature Day events - Finns honour their natural treasures by flying the flag

8/31/17

Finnish nature received a well-deserved honour in the form of a special anniversary flag day on Saturday, 26 August. Tens of thousands of people attended over 260 organised nature events, such as choir concerts, hiking and outdoor banquets, in a celebration of nature. Over 2,000 choral voices rang out in various concert venues. The blue-and-white Finnish flag was flown in honour of nature. A total of 300,000 people participated in Nature Days events, which were held on four days this year.

People at Nuuksio National Park. Photo: Jari Kostet / Metsähallitus

Nature Days is one of the biggest Finland 100 events. In addition to the enormous turnout, over one thousand events were organised by countless volunteers, with over one hundred nature ambassadors from a variety of fields encouraging people to get out into nature. The one hundredth of these ambassadors is the President and First Lady of Finland, whose Nature Ambassadorship was announced on Saturday.

Choir at Nuuksio National Park. Photo: Jari Kostet / Metsähallitus

The original aim of Nature Days was achieved with flying colours: Nature Days and its myriad of events have inspired many first-timers to get out and go for a hike, and people have found new ways of enjoying nature's many health benefits. Events offered people a chance to go birdwatching and explore flora, pick mushrooms, go fishing, do forest yoga, spend a night outdoors, make birdhouses, enjoy light art installations, dance in the depths of the forest, plunge into an ice hole for an invigorating winter dip, just to name a few.

Finnish Nature Day will be celebrated next year on the last Saturday of August (25 August 2018).


National Park Bringing New Feeling of Optimism to Hossa

by Fran Weaver, August 2017

Lenny Daly of the local firm Hossan Lumo feels that the new Hossa National Park provides ideal settings for the trendy outdoor activity of SUP-boarding. The Daly family's dog Vicky is also on board. Photo: Maija Daly, Hossan Lumo

The opening in June 2017 of Finland's 40th national park at Hossa, to mark the centenary of the Finland's independence, has been a great boost for local entrepreneurs offering services related to nature tourism and outdoor recreation. New jobs and income are very welcome in this part of Finland's north-eastern borderlands, between the towns of Kuusamo and Suomussalmi.

The clear waters and sandy shores of Hossa National Park are particularly popular among paddlers. Visitors can rent kayaks from local firms or join guided paddling tours to discover the park's highlights. Photo: Hannu Huttu / Metsähallitus

Local firms are already providing a wider range of services for increasing numbers of visitors with different interests. The small family firm Hossan Lumo, run by locally born Maija Daly and her Irish husband Lenny Daly, rents out equipment including fat tyre mountain bikes, kayaks and SUP-boards, while also offering cosy cabin accommodation and lovely lakeside locations for tents and caravans.

Lenny Daly feels that Hossa provides ideal settings for many popular outdoor pursuits. "Hossa's clear blue lakes are great for paddling, and Finland is now also catching on to the international boom in SUP-boarding," he says. "The trails along Hossa's sandy ridges are likewise ideal for mountain biking or hiking." 

Hossa Reindeer Park gives visitors to the nearby national park a chance to get up close to reindeer. Raili Karvonen brings tasty snacks out to some of the park's residents. Photo: Sini Salmirinne

Maija Daly believes that especially for foreign visitors, Hossa's new status as a national park makes it much more attractive than its previous designation as a hiking area. 

"There's a new feeling of optimism as interest in Hossa increases, and people are getting keen to branch out and start new businesses and activities."  

Joga instructor, wilderness guide Saija Taivalmäki is one of the new entrepeuneurs working in Hossa National Park. Photo: Raili Takolander

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