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.

An open mire with small pond in the middle.

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.

An open mire.

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.

Beard lichen hanging on old spruces.

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.

Small pond in the middle of the mire.

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.

Wild forest reindeer hiding in the edge of the mire. Background is filled with coniferous forest.

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.

Fox walking on snow.

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.

Geese flying.

Instructions and Rules

In the Mire Reserve, the following are

allowed:

  • 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

Cranberries on moss.

Restricted:

forbidden:

  • 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

Marsh tea flowers.

Trails and Services

Please, check the map of the area in Excursionmap.fi.

The Juortanansalo – Lapinsuo area offers experiences for independent hikers with good wilderness skills, as there are few maintained services.

Duckboards leading through spruce-dominated wetland.

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.

Mire in the winter. Trees are mainly small or dead pine trees.

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.

Note:

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.

By Car

  • 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.

Maps

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.