19 November 2015
The exhibition “Moving” at the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia in Nuuksio / Espoo / Finland, is open until April 2016.
By Anna Kauppi.
Outdoor activities in the forest improve health and reduce stress. You do not necessarily need those spectacular vistas in national parks to relax. Even an ordinary forest in commercial use refreshes the spirit.
The potential uses of ‘everyday forests’ were discussed in November during the Forest Days, the annual gathering of the Finnish forest sector.
The participants in a workshop developed dozens of ideas on how to improve the supply of ‘wellness from the forest’. Among the 51 ideas were business models, such as organizing forest excursions for people living near a forest area. Adventure trips for tourists could include the planting of trees and other forestry activities. During the workshop, ideas for public services were more plentiful than commercial ones. Campfire sites and hiking routes – and mobile applications to find them – should be available in all ordinary forests.
Children and young people could be offer adventure trails and huts. Does this mean that the Finns no longer know how to use their forests if no services are provided? Do you have to resort to special measures to attract this nation of berry pickers and hunters into the woods these days? “I’m sure that we still possess the knowledge, skills and the need to visit the forest, but the competition for people’s time has increased,” says Mr. Joel Erkkonen, a specialist for outdoor recreation at Metsähallitus, the state-owned forestry enterprise, and one of the workshop leaders.
According to Erkkonen, it is necessary to have people spend time in the woods for reasons of public health. “For example, the majority of visitors to national parks report that their physical, mental and social well-being have increased,” Erkkonen says, referring to a survey on the benefits perceived by national park visitors.
For further information contact Mr Timo Jaatinen, General Director of Finnish Forest Federation:
FINNISH FOREST Industries Federation
FI-00171 HELSINKI / Finland
Tel +358 (0) 9 132 6600