Separate agreement must always be made with Metsähallitus for providing safari activities on state-owned land. Through this agreement, the company can obtain to safari-specific off-road permits tailored for business use. These are priced lower than personal track permits intended for leisure use. Starting from the 2022–2023 season, the company no longer needs a company-specific, guide-specific and customer-specific permit; a single safari-specific off-road permit is sufficient.
The snowmobile track used determines whether an off-road permit is needed
An off-road permit is needed if the company uses Metsähallitus permit tracks in their safari activities. These tracks require a track permit. They are located in Northern and Eastern Finland and can be viewed on the track map. Unlike private customers, however, companies do not acquire a track permit for using permit tracks, but rather apply for a safari-specific off-road permit.
In addition, a safari company may need an off-road permit if it uses designated tracks for entrepreneurs which are located in areas managed by Metsähallitus. An off-road permit is required for such tracks if the agreement for the tracks for entrepreneurs contains the condition that separate off-road permits must be obtained for safari activities. In older agreements, there is often no such requirement. In such cases, off-road traffic is permitted without a separate off-road permit for as long as the old agreement is still in force. When companies enter into new agreements or renew old ones, the requirement is added for companies engaged in safari activities to acquire a safari-specific off-road permit for use of all entrepreneur tracks located on state-owned land.
In addition to permit tracks and tracks for entrepreneurs, state-owned lands contain many official snowmobile routes and snowmobile tracks maintained by municipalities and associations. A company does not need to make agreement with Metsähallitus about its activities nor acquire a Metsähallitus off-road permit if it is using official snowmobile routes or tracks maintained by municipalities/associations.
Obtaining an off-road permit
Before beginning safari activities on state-owned land, the company must ensure that the following matters are in order.
Agreement or consent to the use of state-owned land
A company must sign an agreement or obtain consent if it wishes to use state-owned land for business purposes. Agreement must also be made on the use of Metsähallitus permit tracks intended for snowmobiling. The permit tracks can be viewed on the track map. The company and Metsähallitus may also make agreement on the use of separate tracks for entrepreneurs.
The company must have a valid agreement or the consent of Metsähallitus before it can apply for a safari-specific off-road permit. Such agreement or consent is subject to a fee.
A safari-specific off-road permit
Once the agreement is in order, the company can apply for an off-road permit. From 2022–2023 onwards, it is sufficient to have one off-road permit per safari. In practice, safari-specific off-road traffic permits are provided as paper “safari-licence booklets”. One completed page of the booklet is the safari-specific off-road permit. The page must be filled in before the safari trip begins.
The price of a safari-specific off-road permit is based on the number of vehicles used:
- If the safari use a total of 1–3 vehicles (this number includes both guide and customer vehicles): €10/day
- If the safari uses a total of 4–6 vehicles: €25/day
- If the safari uses a total of 7 vehicles or more: €40/day
Application for authorisation
You can apply for a safari-specific off-road permit for a permit track by contacting the nature centre for the area (nationalparks.fi). If the application relates to areas other than permit tracks, it must be submitted in written form to the Metsähallitus registry office at kirjaamo(at)metsa.fi.