Instructions and Rules in Käsivarsi Wilderness Area
Instructions on Exploring Käsivarsi Wilderness Area
Hook and line fishing and ice fishing are allowed under everyman's rights, except where specific restrictions apply.
Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
We recommend that you do not build campfires while in the area as there are few trees and therefore only a small supply of firewood. If you have to make a fire, it is allowed to do so using dry branches. Firewood of the huts is meant only for heating the huts. It is not allowed to use the hut's firewood in campfires.
Making open fires is always prohibited if a forest fire warning (ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) has been issued for the area. This prohibition does not apply to cooking shelters or other fireplaces with a flue.
Instructions and rules of Malla Strict Nature 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).
- In Käsivarsi Wilderness Area trails crosses over national borders at several points. Hikers should make sure that they are not carrying any items which you would need to declare in customs. Those wanting to take their dogs on their hike should contact Finnish Customs (tulli.fi) well in advance. Entering Sweden with a dog needs a report to Swedish customs (tullverket.se). Contact the Finnish Food Safety Authority (evira.fi) for information on mandatory vaccinations and certificates.
Tourist entrepreneurs operating in areas managed by Metsähallitus need a cooperation agreement. A fee is charged for using the routes and service infrastructure for business activities.
- See Cooperation with nature tourism business (metsa.fi).
- Usage fees are paid in the Eräluvat online store (eraluvat.fi)
- Contact form for entrepreneurs (webropol.com).
Please keep in mind that snowmobiling is not an everyman's right. Leisure snowmobiling is only allowed on marked snowmobile routes and tracks, as well as on ice-covered waterways. In addition, there are more specific rules applying to protected areas.
You can head out along marked snowmobile tracks on your own or with a local safari service. Some of the tracks require you to purchase a permit, and some are free of charge. Please remember that it is not allowed to turn off the track without the landowner's permission!
The snowmobile tracks starting from the Hetta village are maintained by the municipality of Enontekiö. You do not need a permit to ride on them. The Victoria route, which runs along the border of Finland and Sweden from Muonio to Kilpisjärvi, is also free of charge.
For the snowmobile track leading from Palojärvi to Kilpisjärvi in the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area in Enontekiö, as well as for the Syväjärvi–Karesuvanto and Raittijärvi–Saarikoski tracks branching off the main track, you need to purchase a national off-road traffic permit from Metsähallitus (eraluvat.fi). In the Kilpisjärvi village area, snowmobile tracks are maintained by the Kilpisjärven ladut ry association, and a track maintenance fee must be paid online (kilpisjarvenladut.fi).
- Map 1 (eraluvat.fi, pdf 1.09 Mb)
- Map 2 (eraluvat.fi, pdf 1.22 Mb)
- Tracks maintained by Kilpisjärven ladut ry (julkaisut.metsa.fi)
Guidelines for Dog Sledding
It is allowed to use dog sleds in Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, but reindeer may not be disturbed. Do not stop the sled close to reindeer, not even to take a picture. Disturbing reindeer in late winter and during calving season may cause substantial harm and result in claims for compensation. For your own safety and to prevent disturbance of reindeer husbandry, you should only use marked trails. Remember to close the gates of the reindeer fences after you. Keep dogs always on a leash.
Take all other people in consideration. Sled dogs are not allowed inside the huts. Sledding equipment may not be kept in the huts or in the sheds. The dogs must be kept on a leash at least 50 metres from the hut and the leash may not be secured to the walls of the sheds. Notice, that there are no trees around the huts to be used to tie dogs. The dishes provided in the hut may not be used for feeding the dogs.
To prevent the pollution of drinking water, make sure that the dogs are not lying on ice. The dog waste must be collected from the hut's surroundings. There may be a separate container for the waste. Do not put any other waste in the container. The dog bedding straw may not be left at the yard of the hut.
- You need a licence to operate a dog sledding business.
Mobile Phone Coverage
Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area without signal. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.
- We recommend that you keep your mobile phone warm at all times and take along food and drink. Certain phone models do not work when the temperature falls below zero. You should therefore let someone know your planned route. To keep your mobile phone charged, bring along a spare power source, a spare battery or an old phone with a working battery.
Equipment and Safety
When wilderness trekking in Käsivarsi Wilderness Area you should always have a map, a compass and proper clothing, footwear and overnight gear depending on the length of your trek. Please note that weather conditions change very quickly and it can snow even in summer.
If you face an emergency on your hike, e.g. get lost, get injured or observe wildfire, call 112 and report an emergency. More information on how to act in an emergency.
Make sure you pack a first-aid kit.
Hiking in wilderness areas is more demanding than on marked trails. For this reason it is good to be an experienced hiker before attempting a wilderness trek.
Remember to leave your route plan and timetable for example at Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre.
Hiking in Finland:
The most popular months for hiking are April and August. The most popular trail is Nordkalott Trail.
112 Emergency Number
If you have an emergency during your trip, such as getting lost, injured or finding a wildfire, call 112. Read more detailed emergency instructions.
Download the 112 Finland application (112.fi) to your phone. When an emergency call is made through the 112 Finland application, the emergency center attendant is automatically informed of the caller's location.
It is recommended to keep the mobile phone warm and to bring extra food and water with you. There are many excursion locations with no mobile coverage and some mobile phones does not work in sub-zero temperatures, that is why it is always a good idea to let someone know about your itinerary and timetable.
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.