On Thursday 1 June 2023, Tiilikkajärvi National Park, which is located in the municipalities of Rautavaara and Sotkamo, will experience a real growth spurt. This is when an act passed in February will then enter into force, according to which 3,768 hectares of state-owned land located in the municipality of Rautavaara will become included in the park. Due to the addition, it will become the second largest national park in southern Finland after Patvinsuo. North Savo will receive a valuable addition to the network of nature reserves.
Nature surveys prepare the planning of management and use
Tiilikkajärvi National Park is a good representation of wilderness in North Savo and a valuable entity of mires, forests and waters. Tiilikanharju is a nationally significant site. In order for the use and development of the extended national park to be sustainable, a statutory management plan must first be drawn up for the area. More information on the nature values of the area is needed as a basis for the plan, and line transect point counts will be launched this summer. Efforts will also be made to launch property formation as soon as possible.
"The management and use plan outlines which areas will be developed to include hiking structures and which will be strictly protected. During the preparation of the plan, interested stakeholders and private individuals will be able to propose how the area should be developed. It will take at least one year to draw up a management and use plan, including the review stage," says Matti Hovi, Manager of Recreational Amenities at Metsähallitus. No new routes or structures will be built in the extension area before the management and use plan is completed. The suitability of the old structures in light of the increased number of visitors must also be reassessed.
Extension is the victory of multiple operators
The expansion of Tiilikkajärvi National Park is the result of years of work which is hoped to promote not only the preservation of the area's natural values but also the development of nature tourism and other business activities. The road of the areas now becoming a part of the national park began as early as the 1990s, as local nature conservation organisations began to promote the matter. The current protection decision was preceded by active advocacy work carried out by the Regional Council and the municipality of Rautavaara.
The Youth Centre Metsäkartano, located right on the border of the national park, welcomes the implementation of the expansion project: "From our point of view, the expansion of the national park to the Metsäkartano environment is the realisation of long-term hopes," says Jari Korkalainen, Executive Director of the Youth Centre Metsäkartano. "The park safeguards the preservation of valuable nature and provides an opportunity to restore it to its natural state. At the same time, it safeguards the preservation and development of our operating environment and will certainly increase interest in the area and Metsäkartano as well," Korkalainen sums up. "We look forward to developing our activities related to the national park in cooperation with Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland.
Maintenance and development require secured basic funding
"With the extension, the planning and development of Tiilikkajärvi National Park requires additional funding," emphasises Matti Hovi, Manager of Recreational Amenities at Metsähallitus. "We need money for service structures, nature management, species surveys and the maintenance of nature information. The funding of Parks & Wildlife Finland will determine whether we can build something new in the area. Building hiking trails and other routes are not one-off costs but the construction must also be maintained," he says.