Nuuksio National Park is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Located in the areas of Espoo, Kirkkonummi and Vihti, Nuuksio is Finland's third most popular national park and a unique treasure of nature in the Uusimaa region. The anniversary is marked with a wide range of events, and starting Friday 26 January 2024, Lux Nuuksio will bring light to the middle of winter.
Nuuksio offers a wide range of opportunities for outdoor recreation and exercise, from independent hiking to the various services provided by nature tourism businesses all year round. Numerous events will be held during the year: examples include the Lux Nuuksio light event at the turn of January and February, the Sauna Weekend in March, the World Championships in Wilderness Cooking, the Noux Fest outdoor festival, and the Finnish Nature Day in August, and the Nuuksio Classic Trail Marathon in September. The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia shares hiking-related ideas and guidance in their Outdoor Saturdays organised on the first Saturday of the month, focusing on a new topical theme each month. More information about the events will be updated on the Visit Espoo website (tapahtumat.visitespoo.fi) and on www.haltia.com.
Work in Nuuksio started with night duty
Field Supervisor Teemu Laine first came to work at Metsähallitus and Nuuksio in the summer of 2000 as a kuutamoritari ("Moonlight Knight"), a guide for weekend hikers. Since finishing his studies and internship, Laine has worked at Nuuksio and the other nature sites in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area for nearly 20 years. Laine emphasises Nuuksio's permanence: the National Park still offers the same experience of peace and nature as it did twenty years ago.
"The overall status of Nuuksio keeps improving, and the natural state of the area is returning as time passes from the establishment of the Park and the beginning of conservation work. Even with the large number of visitors, the main characteristics of the area have stayed the same. There are so many places in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area that have changed entirely, but here I can still visit the exact same forest pond and see the same sceneries as before. Where else can we get the same experience of permanence in today's world?" says Laine.
The awareness and popularity of Nuuksio have increased considerably over the years. In 2022, Nuuksio was visited 307,000 times.
The Haukkalampi area is the most popular entrance to the park, but the trails can also be accessed from several other locations. Starting from the Visitor Centre, the trail connecting Haltia and Haukkalampi is now the second most popular route to Nuuksio. The next most popular starting points are Kattila and Klassarinkierros in the western part of the Park.
"The hiking season has become longer. For example, the fatbike cycling season starts earlier in the spring and ends later in the autumn. Nowadays, the entire snow-free season is a popular time for outdoor recreation. The most popular areas in Nuuksio may be busy during the spring and early autumn weekends, but July and August will see the largest crowds, as there will also be many tourists on the trails."
A unique natural environment – lakes, streams, forests, mires
Established in 1994 to protect the deep forests in the Uusimaa region, Nuuksio National Park is the most important conservation area for forest nature in southernmost Finland. Nuuksio is an upland lake area with a diverse natural environment, and the park's highest points stand at 110 metres above sea level.
National Parks Finland has surveyed and managed Nuuksio's diverse natural environment in a variety of ways. A fire continuum has been maintained in the National Park to safeguard the living conditions of species dependent on and exploiting burnt wood. A total of 1,035 hectares of mires, groves, forests and traditional environments have been managed and restored.
Nuuksio National Park has a wonderful forest nature environment with lakes, streams, and mires. Also located in the Park area is Lake Matalajärvi, an extremely valuable lake in terms of the avifauna and flora. In total, there are over 80 small lakes and ponds in Nuuksio. Nuuksio's largest mire is Soidinsuo, which is in its natural state and surrounded by old-growth forest.
The forest species in the Nuuksio National Park depend on vast and undisturbed forest areas, hollow trees, and decaying wood. Inhabitants of the forest environment include for example grouse, owls and woodpeckers, conks and mosses. Two of the few observations of the beetle Lamprodila decipiens in Finland have been made in Nuuksio. The mires and ponds of Nuuksio are home to species that require an undisturbed habitat, such as the red-throated loon.
The emblem species of the National Park is the flying squirrel. Nuuksio has one of the densest flying squirrel populations in Finland, and nearly 200 groves with flying squirrels living in them have been found in the area.
Matalajärvi is an important nesting area for the little grebe, the Slavonian grebe, and the whooper swan. The lake is also one of the best resting areas for migrating waterfowl in the southern coast. Other examples of the protected species inhabiting Lake Matalajärvi include the moor frog, the Najas tenuissima, and the Nemoura dubitans, which thrives in springs and streams.
Did you know?
- All national parks in Finland are managed by Metsähallitus.
- Metsähallitus has updated the Nuuksio management and use plan to integrate the various goals and uses of the area for the future. A large number of stakeholders, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, organisations, and residents in the area have been involved in the preparation of the plan, and the status of Nuuksio's natural environment has also been surveyed. Read more (metsa.fi, in Finnish).
- The anniversary year values are 1) being considerate to nature and other hikers, 2) taking pride in and being grateful for collaboration and the National Park 3) equal opportunity for well-being and health through being connected with nature and 4) highlighting Nuuksio's precious natural values.
- The anniversary year has its own special anniversary logo.. The hashtag #nuuksio30 can be used to mark the occasion on social media.
- Many parts of Nuuksio are accessible with public transport: https://www.nationalparks.fi/nuuksionp/directions
- The word Nuuksio resembles the Sámi word for swan (njukca).
- Nuuksio's Swedish name Noux is a village name dating back to the 1500s
- Read more: Nuuksio National Park