Wilderness supervision work aims to serve and educate people in matters relating to Finnish nature. Metsähallitus employs wilderness inspectors in its public administrative duties unit to conduct this work. The game and fisheries wardens lead the supervision work in state-owned land and water areas and they are experts on the nature and terrain of their respective regions. They are thoroughly familiar with people's activities in the wilderness.
Game and fisheries warden is a legality control official whose duties, qualification requirements and powers are defined in the Act on Wilderness Supervision (1157/2005).
The game and fisheries warden supervises the legality and permissibility of hunting, fishing, nature preservation efforts, off-road and water traffic and generally all activities pertaining to the use of nature in state-owned areas. The duties also include watching over the state-owned land and water areas and other state-owned property controlled by Metsähallitus.
In order to qualify for the position of game and fisheries warden, a person must have a basic degree in Police Studies, a familiarity with wilderness supervision and an upstanding lifestyle.
The powers of the game and fisheries warden are primarily limited to state-owned areas. In their work, game and fisheries wardens aim to prevent illegal or prohibited activities, protect the fauna and safeguard traversing in the wilderness by guiding and instructing the populace. If necessary, the game and fisheries warden has the authority to use force and receive assistance from the police or border guards. The powers of the game and fisheries warden include but are not limited to the rights to see a person's identification, to apprehend a person, to conduct a safety inspection, to monitor for drunken driving and to seize property.
A game and fisheries warden may be identified by the uniform and also usually from the markings on the warden's vehicle. Wilderness supervision is conducted from the ground, water and air using a variety of methods. The game and fisheries warden has a badge that they must present when asked to do so. Many of our wardens are not only trained as police officers but they also have degrees in the fields of forestry, border guarding or national defence as well as extensive experience in police work.
The first game and fisheries warden positions were established in remote areas where police presence was lacking. Today's wilderness supervision professionals place emphasise the prevention of offences. They tour schools, associations and other places talking about good wilderness behaviour.