Finland is covered by forests by 70 % of the land. Most of them are being used by the forest industry but we still have nature left to roam in. Besides forests there are 187 188 lakes, 40 national parks and in the north there are many ancient mountains called fells. We love to wander in the wild, doing different things: walking the dog, picking berries and mushrooms, fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, you name it.
What is different here compared to most of the world, is that we are free to wander wherever we like in the forests. It does not matter who owns the land, we still have the right to enjoy it! In Finland, we have the vastest rights in the world for visiting our beautiful nature. Finns use these “Everyman’s Rights” over 300 million times a year. We really love our nature. In addition to us Finns, visitors from all around the world can use these rights.
Everyman’s Rights in a nutshell
You are allowed to wander almost wherever you want, using your own muscles. You cannot camp outside somebody’s home or cottage house, and you are not allowed to make a fire wherever. But you can, for instance, pick super healthy blueberries wherever you like. Angling in the summer and ice fishing in the winter is allowed but permission is needed for fishing with more professional gear. In wintertime, we can go on frozen lakes and rivers by skis, foot and motor vehicles. Yes, you read right, you can even drive a car on a frozen lake if you dare to!
Rights are also responsibilities
With great power comes great responsibility. Always respect other inhabitants of the forest and carry your own trash back from the forest. Animals have to be left in peace. For hunting, permission is always needed. Pets must be kept in the leash – cats and dogs are a threat to birds in the nesting season.
In the forest, it is prohibited to harm trees or cut them down. You can pick fallen branches but you cannot break living branches of a tree. Open fires are not allowed without the landowner’s permission. In national parks and other recreational forests, there are specific spots for making open fire.
More info about Everyman’s Rights
These are the basic rules of what you can and cannot do in our forests. If you are planning a hike or other adventure in Finland it is good to read more about Everyman’s Rights. You can get the most out of Finnish nature and nature will last as beautiful for the future.
Enjoy your hikes!!!