Recreational use of forests

Public access allows everyone to move freely in Finnish forests and pick berries and mushrooms. No specific permits are needed for this, not even on private lands. The use of forests for recreation is founded on the so-called everyman's right. Certain rules regarding the activities that are allowed are laid down by law. Most importantly, the exercise of everyman's right may not cause damage or disturbance to the environment or other people.

Forest environments and forest-related outdoor activities have very positive impacts on both physical and mental health of humans. Everyman’s right and nearby forests offer excellent opportunities to further enhance forest-based wellbeing. Most of the recreational activities take place in commercial forests.

National parks and wilderness and hiking areas offer peaceful environment and magnificent views to Finnish and foreign nature tourists. There are 39 national parks in Finland, with a total surface area of 9 876 square kilometres. Hiking areas on state lands offer excellent and diverse opportunities for camping and outdoor recreation. More challenging environments for experienced hikers can be found in the vast wilderness areas in Lapland. National parks and other hiking areas on state lands are managed by the Parks and Wildlife Finland, which is a unit of Metsähallitus.

Almost all Finns engage in some form of outdoor recreation and, for example, about two million Finns pick mushrooms. Relative to the total population there are more hunters than in any other country in Europe (200 000 – 300 000, depending on how this is calculated). Recreational fishing is a national hobby, with almost every other Finn engaged in leisure fishing in one form or another.


Related links

Ministry of the Environment: Everyman's rights (brochure)

National parks