Golden rules for responsible nature visitors

Nature has always played an important role here in the North, and its wellbeing close to Finns’ hearts. However, our Arctic nature is fragile, and our actions play a crucial role in keeping it healthy.

In other words, here are five golden rules for hikers heading for the archipelago nature. The instructions have been compiled from the website, which contains a lot of useful information on hiking etiquette that applies on both land and sea.

Five golden rules of responsible hiking

  1. Respect nature – don’t change it. Keep your pets on a leash.
  2. Favour designated trails, and follow the rules for different modes of travel. Check the restricted areas and times at your destination.
  3. Only camp at permitted locations. Do not wash dishes or yourself directly in a body of water. Follow the rules of wilderness cabins.
  4. Make fires at official campfire sites, use a portable stove when possible. Do not light a fire when a forest or grass fire warning is in effect.
  5. Do not litter.

Respect for nature

  • Keep your pets on a leash.
  • Observe animals and their young from a sufficient distance. Animals need nesting peace and their own space at other times as well.
  • Also consider plants. Plant trampling due to photography is a problem in many places. Picking plants in nature reserves is prohibited.
  • In most of the areas managed by Metsähallitus, picking berries and mushrooms is permitted, but some nature reserves may have restrictions. In nature parks, picking berries and mushrooms is always prohibited, and the rules of national parks may contain restrictions.
  • Be responsible for nature on social media channels and online. Make sure that the GPS tracks and social media content you share comply with the rules of the reserve.
  • Follow the instructions for flying drones and other small aircraft.
  • Remember that creating stone piles damages nature and the authentic culture of nature sites.
  • The stones piled by tourists damage the natural soil and alter the natural landscape. Ancient monuments are also at risk.

Moving in nature

  • Favour designated trails to avoid wear of the ground and nature.
  • Check the instructions and rules page of the destination for any restricted areas and times. The website contains comprehensive information on different nature destinations in Finland. For example, many mires, islands and island shores are subject to movement restrictions during the nesting season of birds.
  • Also consider other travellers, as nature is shared by everyone.
  • Follow the rules for different modes of transport. For example, cycling is not allowed everywhere. The routes suitable for cycling are often indicated separately on the routes page of the destination.
  • When paddling, keep at least 50 metres away from cottage shores. Please do not use private jetties as rest sites.


  • Check if camping is allowed at the destination you selected.
  • Camping in nature reserves, such as national parks, is usually only permitted at designated campsites.
  • Consider other campers and overnighters. They may be tired after their day trips and want to enjoy the peace of nature.
  • Do not wash dishes or yourself directly in a body of water or on top of a well. Absorb the used washing water to the ground far enough from the body of water. At a busy rest site, E. coli bacteria can easily accumulate in the water system if dirty water is dumped directly into the body of water or well.
  • Large groups should check if a campsite can be booked for the group. Large groups should report their arrival to the local customer service point.
  • Submit an event notification. Organising events in areas managed by Metsähallitus (


  • You always need the landowner’s permission to make a fire, as making a fire is not one of the everyman’s rights.
  • Favour a portable stove in cooking. The use of a portable stove is permitted even when forest and grass fire warnings are in effect.
  • If you are making a campfire, use only designated and maintained campfire sites. In nature reserves, such as national parks, making a fire is permitted at maintained and designated campfire sites. Campfires in restricted areas are prohibited.
  • Use firewood sparingly.
  • Do not tear off bark or make sausage sticks from living trees.
  • Always check grass or forest fire warnings in the area.
  • Do not use a disposable grill. It burdens the environment and is not permitted when grass or forest fire warnings are in effect.

Litter-free hiking

  • Do not litter; take the rubbish with you to the appropriate waste disposal point.
  • You can place a small amount of food leftovers in a composter or dry toilet, but not in another type of toilet. They will block other types of toilet.
  • Small amounts of clean paper and cardboard can be used as tinder at a campfire site or in the fireplace of an open wilderness cabin.
  • Always carry a small trash bag to pick up the trash that others have forgotten.