Instructions on Exploring Koitajoki Area

The Koitajoki Area is divided into two parts: Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve and other parts. Both of these sections have the own rules and instructions. Because the goal of the strict nature reserve is to keep it as close to its natural state as possible and is a research area, movement within the area and other activities there are much more restricted than in other parts of the Koitajoki area.

In Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve the following activities are

permitted:

  • Entering area and moving within it only along marked trails.
    • This restriction does not pertain to permanent residents of the municipality of Ilomantsi when they are in the area to pick berries and mushrooms. Otherwise being in the area is restricted if you do not a have a special permit. Entering and moving within the border zone is also subject to a permit from the border guard.
  • All Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve Rules and Regulations (julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish)

In other parts of the Koitajoki Area the following activities are

permitted:

  • Hiking, skiing, rowboating, canoeing except in the restricted zone.
  • Camping, which is permitted as an Everyman's Right (www.environment.fi) for 1 to 3 days at a time, but we recommend that you camp in the vicinity of campfire sites.
  • Picking berries and mushrooms.
  • Hook-and-line fishing and ice fishing are permitted under Everyman's Rights (www.environment.fi), with the exception of rapids and running areas with migratory fish stock (www.kalatusrajoitus.fi, In Finnish).

restricted:

  • Entering or moving within the border zone. The boundary of the border zone is marked with yellow paint markings on tree trunks or poles as well as with signposts. Entering the border zone is subject to a permit.
    • Additionally moving within Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve anywhere other than on marked trails is subject to a permit. (See the Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve Rules and Regulations.)
  • Lighting campfires which is only permitted at sites designated for this purpose.
  • Hunting which is only permitted if the hunter has a Metsähallitus hunting permit.
  • Lure fishing is allowed in the region with a fisheries management fee (www.eräluvat.fi). A fisheries management fee does not entitle you to fish in rapids and running areas with migratory fish stock (www.kalastusrajoitus.fi, In Finnish). If you are fishing with more than one rod or in rapids and running areas with migratory fish stock, you will need to pay the Metsähallitus recreational fishing permit for Southern Finland (no 7413, www.eräluvat.fi) in addition to the fisheries management fee. Fisheries management permits may also be purchased on the Metsähallitus Eräluvat web shop (verkkokauppa.eraluvat.fi).
    • In the southern part of the Koitajoki River at Lake Niemijärvi, stationary traps may also be used. For trap fishing, in addition to paying the fisheries management fee, you will need Metsähallitus' trap fishing permit no 7004 for Ilomantsi (www.eräluvat.fi, In Finnish). Permits can also be purchased by phone at +358 (0)20 69 2424.

forbidden:

  • Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect.
    • When there is a forest fire warning in effect you may only light fires in wood ovens at open wilderness hut.
  • Pets running at large
  • Damaging soil or rock, and extraction of earth material or minerals
  • Killing, catching or disturbing wild vertebrates, or damaging their nests
  • Driving motor vehicles, except on roads designated for motor vehicles
  • Driving snowmobiles
  • Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions

Preparations

Mobile Phone Coverage

  • Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the Koitajoki Area without signal. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.
  • We recommend that you keep your mobile phone warm at all times and take along food and drink. Certain phone models do not work when the temperature falls below zero. You should therefore let someone know your planned route. To keep your mobile phone charged, bring along a spare power source, a spare battery or an old phone with a working battery.

Equipment and Safety

Peak Seasons

  • The area's open wilderness huts are in very heavy use especially in autumn during hunting season.

Emergency number 112

In case of an emergency along the way, for example if you get lost or injured or see a forest fire, dial 112. Detailed instructions.

Dogs must be kept on a leash! Photo: Seppo Leinonen.

Dogs must be kept on a leash!

(chapter 8 -  Keeping a dog)