TALLINN – Based on a cooperation agreement between the Estonian state forest management company RMK and the Finnish Forestry Board, Metsahallitus, the first European network of common recreation areas has been established to promote hiking, outdoor activities in nature and recreation area based tourism in both Estonia and Finland.
The new network is made up of four popular recreation areas with a long history from each country: Aegviidu-Korvemaa, Kiidjarve-Kooraste, Nova and Rapina-Varska in Estonia, and Ruunaa, Kylmaluoma, Oulujarvi and Evo in Finland, spokespeople for RMK told BNS on Wednesday.
The recreation areas of Estonia and Finland are quite similar, offering diverse opportunities to spend time in nature, relax and wander, and engage in forestry, hunting and fishing. All sites offer a wide range of recreational services with marked hiking trails, campsites and toilets.
All the sites selected for the network are places of natural beauty that are popular with visitors.
"The opportunities offered by RMK for moving around in nature are highly valued among Estonians. Nearly 2.9 million people a year visit our recreation areas and nature reserves," Aigar Kallas, CEO of RMK, said.
He said that the cooperation project with Finland offers Estonians an excellent opportunity to familiarize themselves with the recreation areas in that country and that definitely the recreation areas that are part of the network in Estonia will offer Finnish visitors new memorable experiences in spending time in nature.
Juha S. Niemela, director general of Metsahallitus, noted that nature tourism has blossomed during the coronavirus pandemic and that after the pandemic, short-distance tourism will definitely become a good alternative to long-distance tourism.
"Finnish recreation areas are ready to welcome Estonians who value above all the opportunity to fish and hunt. In cooperation with Estonians, the aim is to increase sustainable local tourism also through digital tools, to improve the visibility of the recreation areas and thus the operating incentives for the operators responsible for the services provided in the recreation areas, as well as the positive economic impact of the areas," Niemela said.
Information about the recreation areas taking part in the project can be found at www.loodusegakoos.ee and www.metsa.fi/retkeilyalueverksto .