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Finland to Become the World's First Country to Fly a Flag for Nature

12/2/16

In 2017, Finland will become the first country in the world to honour its natural environment with an official flag day. The Ministry of the Interior has ordered that flags should be flown on Finnish Nature Day, which falls on the last Saturday of August. Next year, this will be 26 August 2017. This will round off the celebration of Nature Days – hundreds of nature events, either organised or pop-up – in honour of the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence. 

Finland to become the World's first country to fly a flag for nature. Photo: Metsähallitus / Haltia

"According to our survey, nine out of ten Finns want to celebrate Finnish nature as part of Finland's centennial jubilee in 2017. This is an excellent reason for introducing a new flag day," said Pekka Timonen, General Secretary of the 'Finland 100 Years' organisation.
 
"The strong presence of nature in Finland's centennial celebrations has attracted wide international interest. Nature and the related programmes played a key role when the major international travel media companies, Lonely Planet and National Geographic, ranked Finland as one of the best destinations for 2017."
 
The aim is to have Finnish flags flown on as many poles as possible, with small flags displayed in various connections, such as on nature trails, to decorate hiking food, or in other ways. 

Four Nature Days to Celebrate Nature throughout the Centennial Jubilee Year

In honour of Finland's 100 years of independence, Finnish Nature Day, already organised since 2013, has been expanded into four Nature Days, supported by around 50 organisations.
People are also encouraged to join Nature Days. Photo: Joel Heino
 
The idea of Nature Days is to bring people together and draw them out into Finland's natural settings on these four days, in celebration of our relationship with nature and its continuity. In addition to traditional outdoor activities, special celebrations will be organised. For instance, on the Finnish Nature Day 26 August, choral concerts will be held in all national parks.
 
People are also encouraged to join Nature Days, by arranging their own events.
 
In 2017, there will be four Nature Days: 4 February: Enjoying winter; 20 May: Going wild about spring; 17 June: Enjoying a romantic summer night; and 26 August: Celebrating Finnish nature.
 

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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

National parks, national hiking areas and other protected areas provide the visitors with unforgettable moments, best sceneries and hiking and skiing facilities. Read more about the self-guided tours.

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