Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve
Western Finland, Southwest Finland (Varsinais-Suomi) Region
The municipality of Pöytyä
Area: 15 sq.km. Established in 1956.
The area is managed by Metsähallitus
Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve with its surroundings is one of the largest areas in Southwestern Finlands which still are wilderness-like. The Strict Nature Reserve lies in almost unbreakable peace, you can just hear Cranes (Grus grus) shouting and Dragonflies (Odonata) buzzing. If you stop on the duckboards, you may notice that you are being observed. The Moose (Alces alces) on the edge of the forest wonders what is this strange creature walking in the landscape.
In the Strict Nature Reserve, visitors can hike along two marked trails going through the area. The trails are part of Kuhankuono Hiking Trail Network. The third section passing the Strict Nature Reserve is part of Saint Henry’s pilgrimage. It is not allowed to walk outside the marked trails.
Vaskijärven Kierros Trail (19 km)
The Vaskijärven Kierros Trail is an ideal trail for those who want to experience the richness of the natural landscape of Southern Finland within a single day. Due to the length of the trail, inexperienced hikers should set off early in the morning so as to ensure that they are able to return before nightfall. You should reserve approximately seven hours for walking the circular trail. The most convenient starting point for the trail is the Elijärvenkulma parking area.
The trail goes through the Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve in two places: in the northern part of the area for about 3 km and in the southern part for about 2.3 km. The wettest sections have duckboards, but when the water is high you will need waterproof boots to keep your feet dry. Walking outside the marked trails in the strict nature reserve is prohibited.
Outside the strict nature reserve, the trail is made up of footpaths and forest roads. There are two campfire sites along the trail, Valastenmaa and Vesiraumanmäki. They are maintained by the Kuhankuono hiking routes and recreation area association.
Vaskijärvi Short Circular Trail (3,2 km)
In the southern part of the Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve, it is also possible to hike on a 3.2 km long circular trail. It starts outside the strict nature reserve on Vesirauma Hill, goes near the shore of Lake Kajavajärvi, and returns to Vesirauma Hill.
Saint Henry’s path (2 km)
The medieval pilgrimage of Saint Henrik in Munkkionsuo runs through the nature reserve for less than 2 km (not yet visible on maps). It is prohibited to go on this section of the trail completely between 1 February and 31 May. The pilgrimage from Turku to Kokemäki is maintained by Pyhän Henrikin Pyhiinvaellusyhdistys Ry (www.henrikinvaellus.fi, in Finnish).
The Natural Features of Vaskijärvi
Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve is located on the flat watershed region of Southern Finland. There are a couple of lakes with pine bog shores, but most of the nature reserve's area is made up of mires. Vaskijärvi Strict Nature Reserve is the most important area in conserving raised bogs in Southwestern Finland. In addition to raised bogs, there are also northern features, such as aapa mires. In the middle and on the edges of the mires, there are forested islands, which have never been logged. In addition to coniferous trees and the Birch (Betula) there are Littleleaf Lindens (Tilia cordata) and Aspens (Populus tremula ) growing on the islands.
The bird species of the area include the Common Crane (Grus grus), the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus). In Vaskijärvi area also live mammals, such as the Common Otter (Lutra lutra) and the Siberian Flying Squirrel (Pteromys volans). Also the Moose (Alces alces) population is strong. The abundance of insect species in the area is due to the old-growth forests.