Thousands of protected sites

Metsähallitus has a statutory obligation to protect and preserve the cultural heritage under its management. In this work, Metsähallitus is implementing the Government's 2010 real estate strategy and the 2014 cultural environment strategy.

Metsähallitus is responsible for more than 400 protected buildings and more than 6,000 sites protected under the Antiquities Act.

More than 730,000 people visited Metsähallitus’ historical sites in 2017.


Protection work is based on plans and guidelines

Metsähallitus manages heritage landscapes in accordance with its management plans and under the guidance of the Ministry of the Environment. It also manages buildings and antiquity sites in cooperation with the museum authorities. The cultural heritage is mapped before any management and restoration measures are taken.

The information on the sites is stored in Metsähallitus’ geographic information system. In 2017, Metsähallitus introduced PAVE, a new geographic information system, which is part of the ULJAS information system available to Finland’s environmental administration. New information is continuously added to PAVE and it can be used as a tool in daily planning work.

In cooperation with the Finnish Heritage Agency and other actors, Metsähallitus has also prepared guidelines on how to preserve Finland's cultural heritage sites for the future generations. The guidelines are contained in the Metsähallitus’ Environmental Guidelines for Practical Forest Management.

Long-term work aimed at preserving Finland’s cultural heritage

In 2017, Metsähallitus surveyed and restored sites in multiple-use forests and protected areas in accordance with its objectives.

Cultural heritage surveyed in Inari
In 2017, Metsähallitus Forestry Ltd surveyed historical sites located in recreational forests in the municipality of Inari. The survey was carried out as a supplementary survey to the National Forest Programme 2015, which was managed by Metsähallitus. The information collected in the survey will be used in the planning of forest management and sustainable forest use and in the protection of the sites themselves.

Sites of old settlements, ruins of logging cabins, wild reindeer trapping pits and defensive fortifications built during the Second World War were discovered in the survey. The oldest sites are more than 2,000 years old while the most recent are from the 1950s and 1960s.

Sites were renovated
Provided with separate funding, National Parks Finland carried out renovation work at the following sites belonging to the state-owned real property with cultural history value: Svartholm fortress, Skolt homestead in the Urho Kekkonen National Park and the Välimaa Sámi farm. Measures were also taken to improve visitor safety in the castle ruins of Raseborg and Kuusisto. A new service building was also opened at Raseborg to improve the level of services at the site while permanent lighting was installed at Raseborg and Kuusisto as well as on the Vallisaari Island.

In addition to this work, renovation plans were prepared for the Kuusisto guard shed and toilet building as well as for the temple of luck in the English-style park at Aulanko nature reserve. The renovation work will start in 2018.

Renovation backlog at historical sites was reviewed
In 2017, a review was carried out on the renovation backlog of the service infrastructure at the historical and nature sites managed by Metsähallitus.

The purpose was to get an overall picture of the renovations required at historical and nature sites so that a basis can be created for a continuous growth in recreational and nature tourism. State-owned real property with cultural history value comes under the public administration services and the renovation backlog was put at about EUR 72 million. Castle ruins and fortresses belonging to the strategic state-owned real property account for most of the backlog.

Finns’ relationship with forests and everyman's rights included in the national inventory of living heritage
In 2017, Metsähallitus took part in the national implementation of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in the nature and universe working group. Finns’ relationship with forests, everyman's rights, picking of mushrooms, Finnish spitz and the preservation of hunting and fishing traditions were among the 52 items included in Finland's first National Inventory of Living Heritage.

International recognition for cultural heritage work
The cultural heritage survey project carried out in state-owned multiple-use forests between 2010 and 2015 received a Special Mention of Europa Nostra, an organisation working to protect Europe's cultural heritage. The Special Mention was awarded for the preservation and enhancement of the European cultural heritage.

More than 10,000 cultural heritage sites located in state-owned multiple-use forests were documented and protected in the survey project. The geographic information of these sites was published in the service in 2017.

Photo: Elias Lahtinen