“Konnevesi is rugged lakeland at its best. The region has magnificent rocks and crags, as well as old natural forests. It offers opportunities for fishing and nature tourism.”
“Teijo is also a great cultural region, where ironworks come together with wilderness-like nature. It's one of the largest unbroken forest areas in the coastal region and a good counterpoint to the Archipelago National Park.”
In addition to safeguarding environmental values, Niinistö points out, the parks can have a significant impact on tourism and employment.
However, national parks also require the support of the local population, the lack of which saw the Government suspend plans to designate the great fells of north-western Lapland and the Olvassuo bog in the Kainuu and North Ostrobothnia regions as national parks. In Lapland, in particular, the opposition was fierce.
“The Käsivarsi region in [north-western] Lapland is one of Finland's most valuable natural areas. Establishing the park, however, is not currently possible,” Niinistö says.
The ministerial working group voted unanimously in favour of the bill.
“In Konnevesi, virtually only the name of the national park remains undecided,” says Niinistö. In Teijo, in contrast, decision-makers continue to mull over special hunting provisions and how to continue to promote the recreational fishing of rainbow trout.
The national park in Teijo, Salo, would extend across 3,367 hectares of rocky hills, springs and natural forests. The highland region is one of the largest remaining wilderness-like forest and bog areas in Southern Finland. The park in Konnevesi, in turn, would encompass 1,528 hectares of state-owned land, which alongside several privately-owned bog areas, forms a consistent wilderness-like landscape.
Heli Saavalainen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Petteri Kivimäki