History of Oulujärvi Hiking Area

A white butterfly resting on a black tree trunk.

There is a story about the origins of Manamansalo Island: Once upon the time, on Kivesvaara Hill lived a goblin who was not pleased with the Christian religion spreading across its home district. The goblin got angry, clawed a handful of soil from the side of Kivesvaara Hill, and threw it towards Lake Oulujärvi. This goblin's handful became Manamansalo Island, and where the goblin raked up the soil is now Lake Kivesjärvi. The islands of Lake Kivesjärvi have corresponding small lakes on Manamansalo Island.


The golden period of Lake Oulujärvi was in the 1800s, when Finland and especially Kainuu region were producing tar for coating wooden ships and roofs everywhere in the world. The tar was transported from the backwoods of Kainuu to the harbour in the town of Oulu by row boats. Sometimes also sails were used when crossing Lake Oulujärvi but there were many dangers lurking along the way: storms and pirates. The last Finnish pirates were chased away from the islands of Lake Oulujärvi as late as 1860s.

The Hiking Area, the Shore Conservation Programme, and Natura 2000 Network

Oulujärvi Hiking Area was established on 30.12.1993. According to the Finnish law, a hiking area can be established on state-owned land which is important for outdoor recreation. On this kind of area, commercial forestry, hunting and fishing, as well as other use of the land and water areas, has to be organised in such a way that outdoor recreation needs are taken into account.

The largest islands on Niskaselkä open water area and the island of Manamansalo in the hiking area are included in the national Shore Conservation Programme.

Natura 2000 Network includes two areas on Niskaselkä: the islands and shores of Lake Oulujärvi (Honkinen, Kuosto-Kaarresalo, Ykspisto and Rakolanniemi of Enonlahti) and the bird islets of Lake Oulujärvi (Purjekari west of Kaarresalo).