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Nature days 2017 - Go wild in the spring

5/10/17

Nature days 2017 - Four days to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence

When Finns were asked what they would like to celebrate during 2017 when Finland turns 100, nine out of ten replied: Finnish nature. According to surveys carried out with international tourists coming to Finland, over 50 % say that nature was the most important reason. So, let's celebrate together!

Four days to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence

Nature Days 2017 are four days full of events and exploring nature together – for your own enjoyment, and to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Finland's independence. Nature days 2017 is an official programme to celebrate Finland's 100 years of independence. It is run by 50 organisations ranging from nature conservation to health organisations. The joint message is that nature makes you happier.

Of course, Finnish nature can be enjoyed all year round, so don't panic if you cannot come while the four Nature Days are rolling (4 Feb, 20 May, 17 June and 26 August). But the events organized all-over-the-country during these four days give an example of what kind of activities you can ask for or join in while in Finland.

They also reveal the special charasteristics of the Finns. So take a sneak-peak to the special ways Finns celebrate their country, get curious and do visit us.

Saturday 20 May 2017: Go wild in the spring

Spring in Finland is just amazing. Suddenly after the long winter, which drags out up to March, almost summerish spring is there. Everything is lush and green.

And what is best. Even in cities, wild herbs that suddenly come up surprising everyone with their greenery, are clean enough to eat. Hey, after this, 4-5 months ahead no need to buy your lettuce or herbs. Just go out foraging.

Finland has this special thing called Everyman's Rights. People of all nationalities have the right to enjoy the Finnish countryside freely under the traditional Finnish legal concept. You may hike even off-the-beat-track, pick berries and mushrooms, angle, and pick flowers. But together with these wide-ranging rights comes the responsibility to respect nature, other people, and property. Special regulations are in place in national parks and many nature reserves. But basically: there is more space for free enjoyment than restrictions. Check instructions for instance at www.nationalparks.fi/hikinginfinland.

Finland is known for its superfood: wild berries. Mushroom picking is popular in autumn. But a new trend is Wild Herb Foraging. Even in Helsinki, the capital area, it is quite easy to go out in the morning, take your basket and scissors with you, and go out foraging. It is enough to know five very common plants, and you have a gorgeous salad or base ingredients for a wok. Superchef Sami Tallberg (samitallberg.com) can tell you more.

On 20 May, a lot of wild herb outings are organized. During the outings, you can learn to recognize what is edible and what not, and if you are lucky, your organizer will arrange a cooking session for the participants. Or you get a recipe in your hand, while heading to you Airbnb.

If you come outside this date, check with options, for instance with Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, located in the capital region, or any of the Nature Centres adjacent to National Parks.

More Information


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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