Natural Features of Valkmusa National Park

25.1.2022
Check regional Covid-instructions before your hiking trip or a visit to a nature center.

Liminganlahti Nature Centre is closed 1.1.-4.2.2022. The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is closed 10.1.–1.2.2022. Koli Nature Centre Ukko is closed 1.1.–20.2.2022. Kuusamo Customer Service Karhuntassu is closed 13.1.–31.1.2022.

In other nature centers in Finland, we require the use of a facial mask and keeping the 2 meter distance to other visitors. In addition, there may be requirements to show the Covid pass, and/or the number of visitors can be limited. More information Nature centers. The length of the restrictions depends on the region. More regional information can be found at the Finnish institute for health and welfare website.

The untouched nature of Valkmusa National Park is at its liveliest in spring time. Nature that is coloured by peat moss is a heaven for many bird and butterfly species.

Taking care of nature

The mires of Munasuo, Valkmusa, Kananiemensuo and Mustanjärvensuo

More than 40 types of mire habitats have been found within the National Park, which is an exceptionally abundant amount for Southern Finland. The natural features of the mires are considered internationally as valuable. The edges of these mires have for the most part remained in their natural state.

The mires in the National Park are called Munasuo, Valkmusa, Kananiemensuo and Mustanjärvensuo.

Munasuo Mire is Finland's largest coastal hummocked raised bog. Raised bogs are thick-mossed and barren bogs with a centre that is higher than their edges. At the edges of Munasuo Mire there are wet mires with peat moss, spruce mires and pine mires.

Kananiemensuo Mire has retained its wilderness-like atmosphere. It is a mix of many different mire types, which blend to form an impressive whole. Clearly visible in the mess are two raised bogs and one aapa bog. The centre of the mire is very damp.

Butterfly larvae on the board-walks

Many rare and threatened butterfly and moth species inhabit Valkmusa National Park. For example the park's emblem specie the Purple-bordered Gold Moth (Idaea muricata) is threatened and only lives in Southern Finland's coastal mires. Most butterflies and moths that inhabit the mires are most active at twilight or at night.

The Idaea muricata, the purple-bordered gold moth at Valkmusa

The Idaea muricata is a small moth with a wingspan of 18–20 mm. Their flight season starts around mid-summer and lasts for a month. The purple-bordered golds usually fly at dusk but sometimes also during the day and on warm summer nights. A passing hiker can sometimes spot them darting out of their way. Their beautiful yellow-purple colouring blends in perfectly with the colours of the peat mosses and other mire plants. The Idaea muricata was chosen as Valkmusa’s regional emblem because its occurrence in Finland is limited to the coastal area mainly in the south. The Idaea muricata is a rare species of moth and has been classified as endangered in Finland. 

The kingdom of the western osprey

The Valkmusa National Park is favoured by western ospreys. The osprey is a large and spectacular bird of prey that eats almost exclusively fish. As many as six pairs of ospreys nest either in the National Park or around its edges.

When selecting the location of its nest, the osprey prefers peaceful environments with open views, but it is prepared to fly long distances in search of food. This is particularly evident in Valkmusa where there is a large osprey population even though the closest fishing grounds are many kilometres away! This means that every meal that is delivered to either an incubating spouse or hungry offspring has been picked up from several kilometres away. This however is not a problem for the osprey as they are well accustomed to flying. Each year the ospreys of Valkmusa fly to southern Africa for the winter months, only to return again to the same places to nest. During the breeding season it is easy to hear and spot an osprey from the board-walks of Simonsaari.

Nesting and resting areas for the birds

The mires of Valkmusa National Park are known for there abundant amount of bird species, some of which are rare or threatened. Birds, which nest in the park, range from those that are common on the coast like the Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) and the Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) to those that more familiar in the north such as the Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and Common Crane (Grus grus) also nest in the area. The park provides a peaceful place for cranes and geese during migration season.

Valkmusa National Park

  • Established 1996
  • Area 19 km²

The drawn emblem of Valkmusa national park. A purple-bordered gold moth is depicted inside the oval symbol. The text Valkmusa kansallispuisto - national park wraps around the outer edge of the emblem.

The Emblem of Valkmusa National Park is Purple-bordered Gold (Idaea muricata)

Publications of Valkmusa National Park

Publications of Valkmusa National Park (julkaisut.metsa.fi)