Respecting nature, getting around, camping, lighting fires and litter-free hiking – once you have mastered these, you are ready to head outdoors. Take note of the summarised tips for excursion etiquette and always check the detailed rules of your excursion destination on the destination page as well.
1. Respect nature - leave no trace in it. Keep your pets on a leash.
2. Mainly use marked trails and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Check the areas and times in which access is possibly restricted at your destination.
3. Camp only where it is allowed. Do not wash the dishes or yourself directly in a water body. Follow the rules of wilderness huts.
4. Light your campfire only where it is allowed and use a camping stove where possible. Do not light a fire when a forest or grass fire warning is in effect.
5. Do not litter.
- Keep your pet on a leash. Check list for hiking with your dog.
- Observe animals and their young from a sufficient distance.
- The Saimaa ringed seal, as well as other animals, need privacy and space in the breeding season and also at other times.
- Show consideration for plants. Plants being trampled by photographers is a problem in many places. While collecting plants is not permitted in protected areas, you may pick berries and mushrooms.
- Behave responsibly on social media and on the Web. Make sure that the GPS trails and social media content you share comply with the rules of protected areas.
- Flying drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV)
- Building rock piles is harmful to nature and disrespectful of cultural values.
- The rock piles built by tourists on the fells of Lapland, for instance, damage the natural soil patterns created by frost and change the natural landscape. This activity is also a threat to ancient monuments.
- For more information, see the Respect nature page.
- Use signposted trails to avoid wear and tear on the terrain.
- Large numbers of visitors may cause erosion.
- Check to see if there are any restrictions on movement or landing in a certain area at a certain time period. The restrictions are listed on a destination’s Instructions and rules page.
- For example, access to many marshes, islands and shores is restricted during birds’ nesting season.
- Show consideration for others enjoying nature, as the natural environment belongs to us all.
- Comply with the rules for different modes of travel.
- For example, mountain biking is not permitted everywhere. Trails suitable for biking are often listed separately on the destination's Trails page.
- When kayaking, stay at least 50 metres away from private shore areas. Never use private docks for your rest stops.
- For more information, see under Everyman's rights.
- Find out if camping is permitted at your destination.
- In nature reserves, including national parks, camping is usually only permitted in designated camping areas.
- Check the destination's Instructions and rules page to see if camping is permitted.
- If you are planning to stay in a wilderness hut, familiarise yourself with the Rules for Using Wilderness Huts.
- Be considerate towards other hikers and those staying in the hut overnight. They may be tired after their day's hike and wish to enjoy the peace and quiet of nature.
- Do not wash up or wash yourself directly in a lake or a river or on top of a well. Pour your washing water into the ground at a sufficient distance from the water body.
- The water at a busy rest stop can easily become contaminated by coliform bacteria if dirty water is allowed to run directly into a water body or a well.
- It would be a good idea for large groups to check if their destination has a camp site that can be booked for their private use.
- Large groups should inform the destination's customer service point of their arrival.
- Submit an event notification. Notification of an organized event in protected areas governed by Metsähallitus (metsa.fi).
- More information about camping.
- You always need the landowner's permission to light a fire, as building campfires is not part of Everyman’s Rights.
- You should use a camping stove as the first preference. A camping stove may also be used when a forest or grass fire is in effect. However, using wood burning camping stoves, a.k.a. hobo stoves may not be used when a grass or forest fire warning is in effect as the sparks flying from them are a fire risk.
- If you do light a fire, only use a designated and serviced campfire site. In nature reserves, including the national parks, lighting a fire is permitted on designated and serviced campfire sites. Lighting fires is prohibited in areas with restricted access.
- By decision of Metsähallitus, having campfires in the forest is generally permitted on state-owned land in Lapland, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Karelia. You can use fallen dry branches, twigs and small root stocks to build a fire. A serviced campfire site must be used if one can be found within a half-kilometre radius. In nature conservation areas that have a plan for management and use or where an ordinance has been issued, the contents of these plans and rules shall be observed in the making of fire. In most national parks, for example, campfires are allowed only on maintained campfire sites.
- Excursionmap.fi is a free-to-use map service offered by Metsähallitus, where you can see the wide range of sites and services available on state-owned land. You can use this service to look up different types of areas, such as multi-use forests or nature conservation and hiking areas, and see all the facilities available for hikers.
- Check the Instructions and Rules page on the Nationalparks.fi service to see if there are any special rules and instructions about making campfires or other restrictions.
- Do not pull bark or cut sticks off live trees for cooking your sausages.
- Use the firewood on the campfire site sparingly.
- Always check if a grass or forest fire warning is in effect in the area.
- When there is a grass or forest fire warning, lighting campfires is also prohibited on most designated and serviced campfire sites.
- If a grass or forest fire warning is in effect, lighting fires is only allowed on campfire sites with roofs and flues as well as in the fireplaces of huts. Even so, special care must be taken. The person starting the fire is always responsible for its safety. Please note that lighting fires may be prohibited in certain locations.
- Do not use disposable barbecues. They are bad for the environment and may not be used when a grass or forest fire warning is in operation.
- The person lighting a fire is always responsible for ensuring fire safety and extinguishing it. It is important to ensure that the campfire has been fully extinguished, as the fire may re-ignite from embers in the ashes. Let the campfire slowly die down until there are only embers left. When the embers are no longer glowing red, pour water, snow or sand into the campfire carefully.
- Check your destination's Instructions and rules page for instructions concerning lighting fires.
- More information about lighting fires.
- Do not litter: take your rubbish back to an appropriate waste disposal point.
- A small amount of food waste may be disposed of in a composter or dry toilet, but not in other types of toilets, which may become blocked.
- Small amounts of clean paper and cardboard can be burned in a campfire or a fireplace in an open wilderness hut.
- Always carry a small bag in which you can collect rubbish left behind by other hikers.
- Take care of intimate hygiene with wet wipes. Note, however, that most wet wipes contain plastic and should not be put in the dry toilet: rather pack them in a small bag and take them away. The wrappings of menstrual products, sanitary pads and tampons must be packed in a small bag and brought away with you.
- More information about litter-free hiking.
- Your local hiking destinations should be your first choice. Walking, cycling or rowing do not cause emissions.
- Use public transport whenever possible.
- Try car-pooling.
- Travel further away less often but stay there for longer.
- More information about modes of travel.