Juortanansalo–Lapinsuo Mire Reserve
Juortanansalo–Lapinsuo area (5,100 ha) is characterised by peaceful and wild mires and forests right next to Finland's eastern border. More than half of the area consists of mires. Different types of pine bogs and spruce mires are dotted by old pine forests. In the summer, the area is an important grazing ground for wild forest reindeer (suomenpeura.fi).
The Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo area is a real gem for hikers who wish to choose their own path, as there are few maintained services.
Nature and Sights
Mires account for more than half of the Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo reserve land area, up to 59 per cent. The mires found in the area are diverse and primarily in their natural state. There are open and tree-covered aapa mires, raised bogs, small mires and spring fens. You can also find rather poor open mires, pine bogs and spruce mires, but very few rich fens.
A majority of the forests are dominated by old trees, mainly old spruce forests. The islands of woods dotting the bogs are old pine forests. Alongside the streams, the flora is richer, with grass-herb groves here and there. In spite of old selective loggings, the forests are in a near-natural state.
The water bodies are small humic mire pools and headwater brooks. There are no lakes, but the southern part of the reserve shows the influence of springs and has spring brooks.
Life in the Mires and Forests
The part of Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo located in Suomussalmi belongs to a reindeer management area, while Kuhmo is home to wild forest reindeer (suomenpeura.fi). The area is intersected by a reindeer fence extending for about 90 km on the border of the municipalities of Kuhmo and Suomussalmi, the purpose of which is to secure the breed purity of the wild forest reindeer by keeping domesticated reindeer and wild forest reindeer apart.
The other mammals encountered in the Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo area are typical forest and wilderness species: small mammals, mountain hares and red squirrels as well as small and large carnivores.
As for birdlife, the birds of old-growth forests are rather abundant in the area. Examples of typical species are the goldcrest, common treecreeper, three-toed woodpecker and crossbills, as well as the fairly common Siberian jay. The mires attract, for example, common cranes, wood sandpipers and rough-legged buzzards.
Instructions and Rules
In the Mire Reserve, the following are
- Walking, skiing
- Please remember to let birds nest in peace
- Camping is allowed in accordance with everyman's right (environment.fi).
- Picking berries and edible mushrooms
- Hook and line fishing and ice-fishing
- To enter the frontier zone, you need a permission from the Border Guard
- Fishing other than hook and line fishing and ice-fishing
- Everyman's right (environment.fi) entitles everyone to angle and go ice-fishing in the area.
- Paying the fisheries management fee (eraluvat.fi), grants the right to fish with one rod.
- Trap fishing, fishing with more than one rod or crayfishing in state-owned waters also requires a separate fishing permit no. 5411 (eraluvat.fi) issued by Metsähallitus.
- Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
- Permits can be bought from Metsähallitus netstore (eraluvat.fi).
- In the Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo Mire Reserve, hunting is allowed in accordance with the hunting regulations (eraluvat.fi).
- The area is part of the small-game hunting area no. 5618 Itä-Kuhmo. Permits can be bought from Metsähallitus netstore (eraluvat.fi).
- Local residents have free hunting rights.
- It is forbidden to build shooting platforms and other structures used for hunting, or bring them to the reserve.
- As a rule, a permit issued by Metsähallitus is required for activities other than those included in everyman's rights, which may include research and organised events. Further information on required permits: research and access permits (metsa.fi) and permits and notifications related to events (metsa.fi).
- Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect
- 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
- Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions
Trails and Services
The Juortanansalo – Lapinsuo area offers experiences for independent hikers with good wilderness skills, as there are few maintained services.
There is only a total of 3 km of trails in the reserve, but you are allowed to leave the marked trail and go wilderness trekking or cross-country skiing. The vast mire areas of Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo provide good opportunities also for snowshoeing.
There is a small Vääränlampi open wilderness hut on the northeastern side of Väärälampi Pond. Another place to have a rest is a lean-to shelter outside the reserve on the northern side of the Riionlampi Pond.
There are no other equipped campfire sites in the area, but ‘Everyman's right' entitles you to choose freely where to camp and make a campfire. For firewood, you can use branches, stumps and twigs. Collecting and burning standing trees or trunks lying on the ground is not permitted.
Please, follow the outdoor etiquette.
Remember to take your rubbish back to an appropriate waste disposal point.
Don’t forget to take drinking water with you.
Directions and Maps
The Juortanansalo - Lapinsuo Mire Reserve is located in the vicinity of Finland's eastern border in the municipalities of Kuhmo and Suomussalmi.
- You can best access the area by driving from Kuhmo towards Suomussalmi (No. 912) for about 49 km and turning east via Vartius to the road leading to Kostomuksha (No. 89). Continue on this road for about 16 km close to the Vartius border guard station, then turn north to road Liekinvaarantie (No. 9127). There is a small information board in Finnish at the point of access, which also contains a map of the area and an English summary.
The Juortanansalo – Lapinsuo Mire Reserve extends to the border between Finland and Russia. You are not allowed to enter the frontier zone without permission from the Border Guard. The zone is clearly marked on the maps of the area.
Check for Warnings
When forest and grass fire warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) are in effect, fire is only allowed at covered campfire sites that have a flue. A fire can be also lit in fireplaces at wilderness and other huts. Always use extreme caution when handling fire. The one who lights a fire is always responsible for its safe use. Please note, that making fire at these campfire sites can be banned locally.