Off-road permits for state-owned lands can now be applied for electronically
Off-road permits for state-owned lands can now be applied for easily at the eräluvat.fi web store, except in the case of Lapland's three northernmost municipalities. The new permit application procedure applies to traffic both on off-road tracks and off tracks. Permits may still be purchased from the Metsähallitus customer service points and by using the service number (020 69 2424).
Track permits for state-owned lands are subject to a fee; it is free to use a snowmobile on official routes
The Metsähallitus snowmobile tracks are subject to a fee; they are unofficial tracks that are classed under the law as off-road terrain. Snowmobile users may obtain a personal or family track permit for these tracks. The cost of the permit is from nine to fifty euros, depending on how long the permit is needed for. However, a permit for one's home municipality is free of charge.
Official snowmobile routes are roads designated for snowmobile traffic in the (Finnish) Road Traffic Act. It is free to use official routes, regardless of whose land the route passes through. The upkeep of the routes is the responsibility of the local authorities and snowmobile pools. Using a snowmobile off the tracks always requires the permission of the landowner or those responsible for the upkeep of the snowmobile track, except where it concerns areas of water covered in ice, where a snowmobile may be used freely. A permit for state-owned lands is issued by Metsähallitus.
Other off-road permits for state-owned lands
As a general rule, non-track off-road traffic is prohibited by law during the snow season and all off-road traffic is prohibited during snow-free periods on all state-owned land. A special off-road permit may nevertheless be applied for to Metsähallitus if there is a good reason for so doing.
The reason for applying for an off-road permit may, for example, be a need to reach a property other than in a case of easement, or anything to do with hunting and fishery management, research, or event organising. The charge for these depends on whether the permit application is for one's own municipality or how much thorough investigative work Metsähallitus will have to do and the legal implications it will have to consider.
Once applied for, such off-road permits take no longer than 15 working days to process.
The exceptions to the electronic permit application system are still those off-road permits for the snow season applied for by residents of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki for use in their home municipality. For now they can be applied for at a local Metsähallitus customer service point. However, from 2020, they too will be able to be applied for electronically.