Instructions for responsible snowmobile riders
It is the responsibility of each snowmobile rider to ensure that snowmobiles do not cause harm to nature or other people moving in nature. When you follow these instructions, you are not following just the Finnish legislation but also good snowmobiling etiquette.
1. Respect nature
- Try to make sure that the snowmobile’s mark in the snow is the only mark you leave. Always assess whether there is enough snow to make sure you are not making marks on the terrain. Sufficient snow cover is also a question of safety.
- Always drive according to the permit conditions. Unauthorised snowmobiling may endanger the nesting of animals such as birds and Saimaa ringed seals and calving of cervids.
- Respect reindeer husbandry. Scaring reindeer and trying to get them to run causes damage to the livelihood.
- Only make fires at sites designated for it. Do not fell trees in the forest; only use firewood you brought or firewood from a maintained rest site. In Lapland, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Karelia, making a campfire is permitted on state-owned land.
2. Respect other people in the terrain
- Reduce speed when encountering others. In addition to snowmobiles, there are walkers, skiers and cyclists on the tracks and trails.
- Do not speed; Somebody could come from around the bend.
- Help people in trouble and anyone who needs help. If you are unsure, it is a good idea to stop and ask if the other person needs help.
- Please note that open wilderness and reservations huts are meant for private persons who are hiking, skiing or arriving there by their own means for a temporary place of rest or for staying overnight (1-2 nights). Visitors arriving by other means are welcome to use the hut but only during the day.
3. Always have a permit when driving
- Remember that driving outside the trails on a motorised vehicle always requires permission from the landowner.
- The routes are intended for snowmobiles, as defined in the Road Traffic Act, and their use is free of charge. The tracks are unofficial routes and subject to a charge. On tracks maintained by Metsähallitus, you always need a track permit. You can find the tracks that are subject to a charge on the Eräluvat.fi website.
- Read the permit conditions of your track permit carefully and follow the permit period.
- You do not need a track permit for snowmobiling in the following situations:
- Riding a snowmobile on an official snowmobile route
- Snowmobiling in an ice-covered area (excluding national parks and nature reserves)
- The tracks and routes are planned together with stakeholders and landowners. From the perspective of nature and local residents, the best option for snowmobiles is to drive on these tracks and trails.
- Always agree on off-road business activities separately with the landowner.
4. Pay attention to safety
- Tell your friends or family where you are going and for how long. Mobile coverage in more remote regions is often poor and it is difficult to call for help.
- Assess your driving, repair and orienteering skills honestly. Many snowmobile tracks run through sections in the wilderness and help is far away. Note that not all tracks are driven regularly or necessarily at all.
- Review your first aid skills before the trip and remember to attach the emergency switch before starting.
- Ensure that the equipment is in good condition and legal. Always check and maintain your snowmobile before travelling.
- Pay attention to the safety of children on the snowmobile or sled.
- Check the weather forecast and pay attention to natural conditions. Weather conditions may change suddenly in the fell.
- Follow speed limits and other traffic regulations. The speed limit is 80 km/h in the water area, 60 km/h on the trail and track, and 40 km/h with passengers on the sled.
5. Do not litter
- Ensure that no harmful substances, such as engine oils or fuels, enter the environment.
- Refuel preferably at a refuelling point or another built area.
- Do not leave lunch wrappers, cans or other trash such as snowmobile maintenance equipment in nature or rest sites. Did you bring it? Then take it home!
6. Report issues
- Report suspicious snowmobiling to the local Game and Fisheries Warden. In emergencies, you must always contact the emergency number 112.
- Report and, if necessary, write down the factors that endanger safety or require the route operator's actions and call the Eräluvat service number +358 20 69 2424 or the nearest Metsähallitus customer service point.
- In non-urgent cases, you can give feedback via the Metsähallitus feedback form (metsa.fi).