Instructions and Rules in Malla Strict Nature Reserve

A path through a summery fell landscape.

Malla Strict Nature Reserve has been established especially for the purposes of nature conservation and scientific research. During the snow-free season, moving in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve is allowed only on foot on the marked trail.

Bicycling is prohibited. Moving during snow-free times on other than marked trail requires a written permit from Metsähallitus. In wintertime, you can ski and snowshoe freely in the area, but snowmobiling or driving with a dog sled is prohibited.

Respect Nature
Pets
Getting Around in Strict Nature Reserve
Camping
Lighting Campfires
Litter-free Hiking
Fishing
Picking Berries, Mushrooms and Wild Herbs
Other Rules and Instructions
Seasons
Forbidden Activities
Safety

Respect Nature

The documents that guide visiting the Malla Strict Nature Reserve:

Behave respectfully towards nature when enjoying outdoor activities! Get to know the Outdoor Etiquette.

Do not violate the rules of the Malla Strict Nature Reserve or share any such content on the internet.

Letting pets running free is forbidden. Dogs must be always on a leash.

Getting Around in Strict Nature Reserve

Moving by means other than on foot, snowshoes or on skis is forbidden in Malla Strict Nature Reserve. Walking off the marked trail is forbidden in summer. Mountain biking is forbidden. Also driving a dog sled or snowmobile in the nature reserve is forbidden. 

When crossing over the national borders hikers should make sure that they are not carrying any items which they should declare in customs. Those wanting to take their dogs on their hike should contact Finnish Customs (tulli.fi) well in advance. When entering Sweden pets must be reported to Swedish Customs (tullverket.se). Contact the Finnish Food Authority (ruokavirasto.fi) for information on mandatory vaccinations and certificates. 

Camping

Camping is allowed only near Kuohkimajärvi open wilderness hut.

Lighting Campfires

Lighting campfires is prohibited in Malla Strict Nature Reserve.

Litter-free Hiking

Do not litter, take away everything you brought along. There is a recycling point at the Kuohkimajärvi open and reservable huts.  Nevertheless, hikers are encouraged to carry their own waste away from the area. Small amounts of clean paper and cardboard may be used as kindling at a campfire site or a fireplace at a hut. Other waste, such as packages that contain aluminum foil or plastic, can not be burned in a fireplace, as they may form non-biodegradable waste and toxic gases.

You can put leftovers and other biowaste in the dry toilet of Kuohkimajärvi huts.

Littering is forbidden. Read more about Hiking without littering.

Fishing

Fishing is forbidden in Malla Strict Nature Reserve.

Picking Berries, Mushrooms and Wild Herbs

Picking berries, mushrooms and wild herbs is forbidden in Malla Strict Nature reserve.

Other Rules and Instructions

Think of sustainability and use the gas and firewood supplies sparingly. All firewood and gas bottles are transported to the hut hundreds of kilometers. 
Activities in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve are governed by Regulations of Malla Strict Nature Reserve (julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish) and Management plan for Malla Strict Nature Reserve (julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish). A permit from Metsähallitus is required for other activities. Such activities are for example research, organized 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).
The use of Metsähallitus’ trails and structures for business activities is always subject to a fee.

Seasons

In March, the sun starts warming you in the daytime but the mornings are still cold as the temperature drops during the night. The snow cover is at its thickest with more than a metre of snow in places. The best conditions for cross-country skiing in the Käsivarsi region are in April. In May the melting waters of the fells often start to flow. In the end of May it can be difficult to hike in the fell area. 
The snow melts in the mountain birch forests in June, but in may there still might be many metres of snow here and there on the fells. It is difficult to walk on the trail and the abundant water volume of Kitsiputous Falls often cuts off the route of the Malla Strict Nature Reserve. Water from the melting snow flows down the fell slopes, making the trails wet and thus very susceptible to wear. Hikers are asked to take this into consideration when planning their route and possible time to hike.

Hikers should really wait until July before they head for the fells in the Käsivarsi area to be able to admire the blooming flowers. The mosquito time has also started by then, although up in the fells the insects do not bother you quite as much as below the tree line.
Autumn colours are at their best in the first weeks of September. Sometimes an autumn storm rips the leaves off the trees earlier than usual. The first snow usually falls in September, dusting the distant fell tops with white.

January is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature as low as -13.6 degrees Celsius. In February the sun gives some light, but the temperature may still be -20° C or colder for days. Winter excursions and staying outdoors overnight require thorough planning and excellent equipment in order to be successful.

Peak Seasons

The most popular months to visit the area are from late March to April, and from July to mid-September.

Forbidden Activities

  • Walking off the marked trails
  • Moving by means other than on foot or on skis
  • Mountain biking
  • Littering
  • Damaging the vegetation, soil or bedrock
  • Disturbing or hurting the animals
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Berry and mushroom picking, and taking plants, animals or parts of them with you
  • Letting pets run free
  • Camping and lighting campfires
  • All activities changing or disturbing the nature, landscape or other environment
  • Using motor vehicles
  • Dog sledding
  • Flying drones is prohibited in restricted areas as well as key bird nesting areas, such as steep cliffs of the fells, islands, skerries and sea bays, where bird populations nest and key rest stops. Because disturbing vertebrates in nature reserve areas is prohibited, the flying of drones may also be prohibited in other areas.

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 what the weather and warnings in effect (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) are, will help to make your trip a success.

  • When travelling in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve, you should at minimum bring a map, compass and appropriate hiking gear as required by the length of your trip. Remember that the weather conditions can change very quickly in open fell area, and it can also snow in the summer. Getting lost in a snowstorm is very dangerous.
  • Seasonal changes should be noticed when planning the trip. The snowless time varies from year to year, but normally, the summer route is visible and can be hiked from around the end of June to September. In winter, the route may not be marked at all.
  • Before your hike, please read the Hiking in Finland, and learn about hiking without littering and hike planning.
  • Dress for hiking in colorful clothes and according to the weather.
  • 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.
  • The trail in the reserve is covered with duckboards in places. Appropriate footwear is always necessary. There may be a lot of mosquitoes in the summer, so a mosquito net is useful at that time. The route crosses rivers with no bridges, so the hiker must be prepared to wade.
  • Mobile phone coverage varies in Malla Strict Nature Reserve. You can check your own mobile operator’s coverage map before your trip. Read more about mobile phone coverage (112.fi). 
  • It is good to inform your family or your place of lodging about your schedule and route plans. 
  • Hiking in Finland:
  • Safety
  • Outdoor etiquette
  • What to Pack

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 centre 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

A cartoon picture of a family walking on a summer path.

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

For Entrepreneurs

Tourist entrepreneurs operating in national parks or other areas managed by Metsähallitus need a cooperation agreement. A fee is charged for using the routes and service infrastructure for business activities.