Published 25.4.2018

Finland's oldest national parks turn 80

National parks are over 1,000-hectare protected areas, which are also natural sights open to everyone. Their primary purpose is to ensure the diversity of Finnish nature. National parks are established by law on state-owned lands.

The natural features and landscape in national parks are typical of Finland, but they are also a nationally and internationally valuable part of our nature. They have within them national landscapes and other natural sights.

Two national parks in Lapland celebrate their 80 years in 2018

Finland got its first national parks in 1938. Pallas-Ounastunturi National Park and Pyhätunturi National Park were fell areas in Lapland. They both are a part of a fell chain, and in 2005, both parks were expanded when their nearby fells were joined in the parks. The western national park became Pallas–Yllästunturi National Park and the eastern Pyhä–Luosto National Park.

The vast parks are very popular. Pallas–Yllästunturi National Park is the most popular park in Finland in terms of visitor numbers, it logs over 500,000 visits each year. Pyhä–Luosto NP has approx. 150,000 visitors yearly.

According to user surveys the reasons for visiting the parks are experiencing nature and the scenery. Cross-country skiing and backpacking are the most popular activities, but cycling and snowshoeing are new forms of activities.

Sustainable tourism is practiced in the parks

Administering over 40 national parks, Metsähallitus Parks & Wldlife Finland sets the requirements for nature tourism operators using national parks to provide their services. Winter in Lapland is a big draw for tourists, but Parks & Wildlife Finland also paves the way for new nature tourism services in the summer. Opening summer trails to cycling has been a success.

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