Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site
The Kvarken Archipelago is Finland’s first UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, Due to its geological features, Kvarken was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2006, together with Sweden´s High Coast on the opposite side of the Gulf of Bothnia.
Moraine formations from the Ice Age are still slowly emerging from the Baltic sea at Kvarken (in Finnish Merenkurkku), creating the unique landscapes that have earnt the archipelago its world-class status. The seabed turns into land, the beaches turn into forests.
Flads and gloes, the unique lagoons shaped by land uplift along the coast, are typical for the area. Constant change taking place in the coast joins shallow sea bays with the mainland. The lagoons offer a small and sheltered underwater environment in comparison to the challenging conditions of the sea.
A large part of the Kvarken Archipelago belongs to the Natura 2000 network. It is also included in the list of areas protected by HELCOM, Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission.
The management of the world heritage site is co-ordinated by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland and Västernorrland’s County Administrative Board In Sweden. The Kvarken villages are home for many fishermen and farmers and their descendants and co-operation with them is an essential part of the management of the area.