The Peter Parker Principle runs as follows: with great power comes great responsibility. Which could be a neat summary of Finland’s Everyman’s Rights, the equivalent of Scotland’s Right to Roam. Anyone can walk, snowshoe and forage almost everywhere (though fires are prohibited). But you have an obligation to landowners and other people – to treat wild places with respect.
“This did become a bit of a problem during Covid,” says Riitta Kiukas, founder of our Finland vacations partner, Skafur Tours. “We saw inexperienced people going into the wilderness alone and not behaving responsibly, leaving waste behind for example.” Anyone offering nature-based tourism on state-owned land in Finland must cooperate with Metsähallitus, the enterprise that manages their usage and conservation, to ensure their practices are sustainable.
Organised activity tours in Finnish Lapland
such as Riitta’s are the best way to explore Finland’s majestic wilderness. They follow the rules to protect these precious landscapes, but they also give you a deeper connection to them through cultural and nature-based experiences.
Finland has 12 wilderness areas, spanning 15,000km², all of them found in northern Lapland and maintained by Metsähallitus. These are strongholds of indigenous Sami culture, and only their traditional means of livelihood, such as hunting, fishing and reindeer husbandry, can be practised here. But with cities offering more attractive employment prospects and an ‘easier’ lifestyle, many Sami communities are dwindling. Responsible tourism in Finnish Lapland that puts an emphasis on showing travelers authentic Sami culture and supporting their lifestyle can encourage younger generations to stay.