Leave no trace

The wonders of nature are fragile and precious and while enjoying the great outdoors make sure they are preserved for future generations by taking the utmost care to have as little negative impact as possible. Consider the following:

  • Take only pictures, leave only footprints – after choosing your destination use public transport or car pool if possible. Take only what you need and avoid disposable products.
  • Pack it in, pack it out – avoid troublesome waste collection and remember many of the back country campsites don’t have waste collection bins. Be prepared to carry out everything that you have carried in. Combustible waste, small amounts of clean paper and cardboard, can be burned in campfires as long as no grass or forest fire warnings are in effect. Never burn other kinds of waste such as packaging that contains aluminium foil or plastic on a campfire since it may leave a non-biodegradable residue or emit toxic fumes. These must be packed out and disposed of properly. Campfires may only be lit with the landowner's permission or in the designated public campfire sites and cooking shelters. Carry a portable camp stove with you.
  • Be one with nature – if no toilet facilities are available, dig a hole well away from any water sources, trails or campsites. Carefully cover the hole with loose soil and vegetation when you have finished. Use toilet paper sparingly.
  • On the beaten path – help prevent erosion and damage to fragile plants by staying on marked trails. Do not cut across switchbacks on hillside trails. This can cause severe erosion and damage to trails and hillsides.
  • Outside is the new inside – in national parks camp in designated or established campsites. Avoid damaging trees and plants when pitching tents or hanging hammocks.
  • Be green and clean – wash dishes and bodies away from water sources and use sparingly only biodegradable soaps. Dump dishwater on land to help prevent water pollution.
  • Nature is the best designer – do not make stone piles or stack rocks. They disturb nature and detract from the natural beauty of the great outdoors. But do not dismantle existing cairns. Some may be thousands of years old and of historical significance. Do not carve, paint, or draw on trees, rocks, signs, or structures, but do not deface or disturb ancient rock paintings.
  • Content is King – be responsible on social media and online. Make sure that your shared GPS tracks and social media content comply with the rules of the protected area. GPS tracks can be saved for your own use, but if you publish them on route services (such as gpsies.com or Strava), make sure that the tracks remain on the applicable routes. The actual routes are always available from Nationalparks.fi. Think about what you publish on social media. Use your beautiful nature photos to help and encourage others to appreciate and respect Finland’s wonderful nature destinations.

More Information

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How many years does waste take to degrade?

  • Cigarette butt over 10
  • Plastic bag 100, plastic bottle up to 1,000
  • Pea soup can 200-500
  • Drink can made of aluminium 200-1000
  • In practice, glass will last forever
  • Batteries 200-1,000
  • A cardboard cup and milk carton 1-5
  • A paper handkerchief 1-2
  • Chewing gum 20-25
  • Bag clips hundreds of years