The aim is to bring together Finland’s largest customer community focused on spending time in nature and taking part in wilderness activities. Metsähallitus hopes that hikers, hunters, fishers, and trekkers alike will join in, even those who are just starting their hobby.
“We provide our services to citizens. That is why it is important that our customers are always involved in the development of our services. Our aim is to build a diverse community of people of all ages, living in different parts of Finland and coming from different backgrounds,” says Lead Service Designer Susanne Nylund from National Parks Finland.
At the moment, the most well-known digital services of Metsähallitus for outdoor visitors and wilderness enthusiasts are Nationalparks.fi and Eräluvat.fi. The Nationalparks.fi website is used especially by hikers visiting national parks and other state-owned nature reserves. From the Eräluvat.fi service, on the other hand, you can get fishing, hunting and off-road traffic permits for state-owned land and pay the statutory fisheries management fee.
In addition to developing digital services, the members of the Wilderness and Nature Community have the opportunity to, for example, give their opinions on terrain signs in national parks, assess the functionality of campsites, find ways to deepen the nature connection of young people and children, and consider what hikers should know about restoration. The Community may also discuss how to improve wilderness permit services and areas.
Spending time in nature is a growing trend and the new Wilderness and Nature Community will come up with ideas for a sustainable future
Spending time in nature is a growing trend in Finland. In 2021, for the first time ever, there were more than four million visits to our national parks. Last year, the Nationalparks.fi website had 2.8 million visits and its users looked for hiking information about national parks, amongst other things. The Nationalparks services will be reformed significantly in the coming years.
“As there are more people out in nature, it is increasingly important to promote responsible action in national parks and other state-owned areas. In this way, we will preserve our national treasures for future generations. In the Wilderness and Nature Community, we work together to design guidelines for responsible use of the areas. We will also ideate how to nudge people to act responsibly in our digital services,” Nylund says.
Hunters in Northern Finland and fishers in Northern Lapland would add a valuable perspective to the Community
The Eräluvat web shop currently has over half a million registered customers. Customers with different kinds of wilderness permits spend half a million days in state-owned areas each year. Finns often utilise free opportunities, such as ice fishing, angling and hunting . A total of 1.9 million days a year are spent in nature in state-owned areas.
“We also hope that wilderness enthusiasts who do not need a separate permit from Metsähallitus will join the Community. For example, hunters in the reindeer herding area who hunt based on a local resident’s rights would be important members of the client community. We would also be happy to involve local fishers from Northern Lapland to whom we grant free fishing permits or cheap local river angling permits,” says Communications Manager Aku Ahlholm from Wildlife Services.
This is how Metsähallitus’s Wilderness and Nature Community works
- The Community operates on a closed website which will include a total of about 1,000 invited participants.
- In the Community, you can participate in different activities according to your interests. The activities cover various topics and may include discussions and surveys. Any activity invitations will be sent to participants by email, and it is easy to participate via a link. The activities will take around 15 minutes per week, and you can participate according to your own schedule.
- Metsähallitus hopes that people who speak a language other than Finnish as their mother tongue will also join the Community. You can participate in the discussion in the Community in Finnish, Swedish and English.
- Anyone aged 16 and over can apply to the Wilderness and Nature Community. Applications are open for now.
- The Community follows common rules and the principles of constructive and respectful interaction.