Instructions and Rules in Kvarken Archipelago Nature Reserve

The Kvarken Archipelago is Finland's only natural heritage site that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is important that you familiarise yourself with the area in advance and prepare carefully for the trip by reading the instructions for the area.

Respect Nature
Pets
Getting Around in the Natura 2000 Area
Getting Around in the Valsörarna Islands
Getting around in the Snipansgrund-Medelkalla Seal Reserve
Camping in the Natura 2000 Area
Camping in the Valsörarna Islands
Lighting Campfires in the Natura 2000 Area
Lighting Campfires in the Valsörarna Islands
Litter-free Hiking
Fishing in the Natura 2000 Area
Fishing in the Valsörarna Islands
Picking Berries, Mushrooms and Wild Herbs in the Natura 2000 Area
Picking Berries, Mushrooms and Wild Herbs in the Valsörarna Islands
Other Rules and Instructions in the Natura 2000 Area
Other Rules and Instructions in the Valsörarna Islands
Safety

Respect Nature

The outdoor activities in the Kvarken Archipelago are guided with the rules and regulations. When getting around in nature, let’s show respect for it. Take a look at the Outdoor Etiquette.

Please don’t share any such contents on the Internet that break the rules of the nature reserve.

Letting pets running at large is forbidden. Dogs and other pets are welcome in the area nature reserve but only on a leash.

Instructions on Exploring the Natura 2000 Area in Kvarken Archipelago

Many of the islands in Kvarken are important nesting areas for birds, so it is essential to keep to the marked trails during the nesting season, 1.5. - 15.7.

Camping is allowed in Kvarken Archipelago by the Everyman's right (environment.fi). There are no designated camping sites.

Please note that lighting campfires is also forbidden at campfire sites if the forest fire warning or the grass fire warning is in effect. Check the current warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi). This prohibition does not apply to cooking shelters or other fireplaces with a shelter and a flue.

Hook and line fishing and ice fishing are permitted in Kvarken under everyman’s rights.

  • All persons aged between 18 and 65 must pay the fisheries management fee (eraluvat.fi) if they fish by other means than ice fishing or angling.
  • The angling permit 7412 for sea areas, granted by Metsähallitus, is required in certain water areas in the Kvarken Archipelago. Check the need for a permit on the map and purchase the permit if necessary (eraluvat.fi).
  • All fishing is prohibited in the Valassaaret-Björkögrunden nature reserve. However, persons resident in Björköby may fish in the area.

Hand-picking Sea buckthorn (Hippophaë rhamnoides) berries is allowed without limitations. Nowadays, also the use of extractors is allowed without limitations in time.

As a rule, a permit issued by Metsähallitus is required for activities other than those included in everyman's rights, which may include research, organised events and the shooting of films or advertisements in the terrain. Further information on required permits: research and access permits (metsa.fi) and permits and notifications related to events (metsa.fi).

Instructions and Rules for Visitors to the Valsörarna Islands

Visitors are only allowed to travel along the path between the northern pier, the lighthouse, Båtsviken, and Östergårds.

  • Landing on the islands is prohibited during the bird nesting season from 1 May to 31 July, apart from the following areas: Ebbskär piers, Båtsviken, Östergårds, the western side of Malskärören, and the Malskäret anchorage. The prohibition does not apply to the permanent residents of Björköby.

Short-term camping is allowed between 1 August and 30 April in the areas specified on the map on Ebbskär, Storskäret, Malskärsören, and Malskäret. 

Please note that lighting campfires is also forbidden at campfire sites if the forest fire warning or the grass fire warning is in effect. Check the current warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi). This prohibition does not apply to cooking shelters or other fireplaces with a shelter and a flue.

There are no waste bins on Valsörarna, so please bring any waste you may produce back with you.

Fishing is prohibited throughout the archipelago area. The prohobition does not apply to the permanent residents of Björköby.

Picking plants is prohibited, but visitors are allowed to pick berries and edible mushrooms along the trail.

The entire archipelago area has a speed limit of eight knots per hour, and boaters may only use the marked fairways.

Pay attention to the sheep that graze on the Valsörarna islands and remember to properly close any gates you open along the trail.

Snipansgrund-Medelkalla Seal Reserve

The Kvarken archipelago has a dedicated seal reserve (metsa.fi, in Finnish), where visitor access is restricted. Entering seal reserve is prohibited year-round within half a nautical mile (926 m) of the islets marked on the reserve map. Visitors are allowed within half a nautical mile of the islets between 16 June and 31 January. At all other times a Metsähallitus permit is required to enter any part of a reserve.

Safety

It is important that you get as much information as possible about your hiking destination in advance and prepare for your trip thoroughly. Knowing your route and sticking to it and knowing what the weather and warnings in effect (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) has in store, will help make your trip a success.

  • When walking on the islands, it is good to remember that the rocks are slippery when wet, and so are moss and algae.
  • Water flows fast in Kvarken, and this affects the thickness of the ice cover in the winter. If walking on the ice, you need to know where the currents are to avoid falling through the thin ice. It is not recommended to walk on the ice, unless you know the local ice conditions.
  • At the sea it is important to be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions.
  • It is advisable to dress colourfully and according to the weather in windproof clothes, as the sea breeze may be extremely cold. Drinking water and toilet paper are good to have along.
  • Nautical charts are of essential importance, the labyrinth-like archipelago is covered in the series F. There are special maps about the unofficial channels for small boats. These channels are maintained by volunteers, and boaters may use them at their own risk. These maps are sold locally.
  • There are ticks everywhere in the Kvarken Archipelago, but especially in the high grassland.
    • They live in damp grass, and some of them carry viruses and bacteria which cause diseases. It is important to cover your legs and arms, which is easily done by wearing long sleeves and wearing your socks on top of your trouser legs.
    • Tick pliers (sold in pharmacies) and tick check done every night are also essential. Ticks are most likely found in crooks.
  • Make sure you pack a first-aid kit. 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.
  • Mobile telephones work quite well in Kvarken Archipelago Nature Reserve, except in some areas in the park where cliffs or forest block signals. Read more about mobile phone coverage (112.fi).
  • Hiking in Finland
  • Before your trip see also page What is New.

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. 

Drawing of a fireplace. The drawing shows the roof, the flue and off the ground.

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.

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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.

Outdoor Etiquette

1. Respect nature.

2. Mainly use marked trails.

3. Camp only where it is allowed.

4. Light your campfire only where it is allowed.

5. Do not litter.

Read more