What can one do in Vätsäri Wilderness Area?

Go Hiking

Two women with backpacks walking towards the photographer, the first one have two hiking poles in her hands and the second one have one hiking pole. They are surrounded by an old pine forest.

The Piilola Trail, 35 km, connects the Norwegian Øvre Pasvik National Park and the Vätsäri Wilderness Area. A 14-km-long marked trail  in Sevettijärvi from Lake Kirakkajärvi to the cabin of Pakanajoki ends on the northern edge of Vätsäri.

Go Canoeing and Rowing

Lake Inarijärvi is excellent for canoeing, although experience and caution are needed because of the large open water areas and the rocky shores.

Go Sailing or Motor Boating

You can also admire the beautiful landscape of Lake Inarijärvi from a motorboat. This is a popular leisure activity among the local people in the summer. On the lake, there are no mosquitoes annoying the sunbathers, frost does not destroy the berry harvest, and there are thousands of shallows suitable for fishing.

The open wilderness huts of Pisteri and Suolistaival provide shelter for boaters at Lake Inarijärvi. In Kettuniemi and Suolistaival, there are tracks for drawing boats across the land. Kuuva canal is worth seeing as such.

Ski Cross-country off Trails

Vätsäri Wilderness Area offers challenges for an independent skier. There are no marked skiing trails, but wilderness trekking is possible on skis, making use of the open wilderness huts and the rental cabins of the surrounding area.

Go Fishing

For a fisherman who likes peace and quiet, Vätsäri Wilderness Area offers hundreds of different lakes, rivers, bays and ponds. Hook and line fishing and ice fishing are allowed in the lakes of the wilderness area. For angling with one rod you need the fisheries management fee (eraluvat.fi). The angling permit no 1564 Inari wilderness area, also covers the special waters (se below kalastusrajoitus.fi), and running waters according to the fishing area map and the permit conditions. If you wish to use several rods at the same time, you can obtain the recreational fishing permit for Lake Inarijärvi, 1580 Inarijärvi. Permits can be bought from Metsähallitus webstore (eraluvat.fi).

Please note that for other methods of fishing, except hook and line fishing and ice fishing, persons between 18-69 years need to pay the fisheries management fee (eraluvat.fi).

More information from Metsähallitus Ivalo Customer Service and from Siida - Northern Lapland Nature Centre

Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (in Finnish).

The Salmon Parasite (Gyrodactylus salaris) has not yet spread to the valuable salmon rivers flowing to the Arctic Sea. Read more.

Go Hunting

Vätsäri Wilderness Area belongs to the permit area 1606 Vätsäri. A limited number of small game permits a day are sold for these areas. Visitors to the wilderness area may also obtain these permits to hunt willow grouse, hare, small carnivores and water birds during the hunting season. Because of the harsh environment, game animals are not abundant in the wilderness area, especially when the Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata) has destroyed a large part of the habitat typical for the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus). However, there are also places which are favoured by the game animals: on the mires on the northern shore of Lake Inarijärvi, and on their edges, you can find geese and other water birds in the early autumn, and willow grouses later in the autumn. The edges of Vätsäri fell highland and the remaining birch forests have a big enough willow grouse population for a hunter who enjoys the real peace of the wilderness.

The small game permits can be bought from Metsähallitus webstore (eraluvat.fi), at Metsähallitus Ivalo Customer Service and at Siida - Northern Lapland Nature Centre.  

Hunting still is an important recreational activity for the local people, and the traditional game dishes are a welcome addition to the diet in many families in the north. The most important game animals for the locals in Vätsäri area are the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus) and the Moose (Alces alces). Sometimes even the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) is caught in the area.

The permanent residents of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki have a free hunting right on the state owned lands in their municipality.