Sustainable Finland by Visit Finland, video: Visit Finland
Responsibility is becoming increasingly important, and sustainable tourism is widely discussed. Responsibly outdoors refers to activities in the nature and their impact on both nature and the society at large. A responsible hiker is environmentally friendly, respects nature, and acts in a responsible manner leaving no traces in the nature.
According to everyman’s right, or the right to roam, you are allowed to walk, ski and cycle everywhere in the Finnish nature, but not on private yards, irrespective of who owns the land. Everyman’s right means also that you are allowed to camp temporarily, pick wild berries, mushrooms and plants that are not protected, go angling, icefishing, boating, swimming, and wash yourself in the waters in an environmentally friendly way. More information on what is allowed and not allowed can be found in this blog Everyman’s Rights. These rights are also applicable to foreigners.
When walking on nature trails, dogs must be kept on a lead at all times throughout the year. Nature trails are open for use on foot only. Cycling, for example, wears down the soil on the trails and makes wet areas inaccessible to walkers.
When hiking in winter, maintenance issues need to be taken into account. In many places, there is no winter maintenance so the terrain can be rough or even dangerous. Please get acquainted with the conditions well ahead in order to be able to evaluate possible risks.
The paths that serve as hiking trails in the summer often turn into ski tracks in the winter. During the skiing season, you cannot walk on paths that are used as tracks for cross-country skiing as it will damage the track. Walking on ski tracks can also be dangerous as the speed of skiers may be high.
In the summer, the risk of forest fires should be kept in mind. During warm periods, the terrain can get really dry. Using open fire in the forest or on the terrain is not an everyman’s right; it is permitted only upon permission of the land owner. Campfire can be lit only on designated places. While the warning for forest fires is on, making a fire is always prohibited everywhere, except in cookhouses equipped with a flue; lighting open fire is prohibited if conditions in the nature due to drought, wind or other similar reason give rise to a risk of fire. In case of fire, the person responsible for letting the fire spread is also liable for damages. The latest forest fire warnings are shown, for instance, on the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website.
When camping, please remember to respect the nature. Even if everyman’s rights allow you to camp almost anywhere, with a few exceptions, you should not leave any traces after your visit. In practice, this means that you need to recycle your rubbish, you should not let dirty water run into rives and lakes, and you should camp only in places that are designed for that purpose.
Part of responsible camping are travel-related issues. When arriving by car, you should use parking areas and not leave your car anywhere you like. In some places, there is only limited space for parking, so instead of arriving in your car, it might be a good idea to use a taxi. The local taxi company Jytaksi has fixed prices to popular tourist destinations and is a good option for visiting, for example, Leivonmäki national park and the observation tower in Oravivuori. When possible, use public transport as it is often the most ecological choice.
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