Recreational use of forests

Everyman's rights allow access to forests in Finland

Public access allows means allowing everyone to move freely in Finnish forests and to 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 in the 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 influence on both physical and mental health of people. Everyman’s Right and closeness to forests offer excellent opportunities to further enhance forest-based wellbeing. Most of the recreational activities take place in commercial forests.

National parks, wilderness areas and hiking areas offer a peaceful environment and magnificent views

There are 41 national parks in Finland, with a total surface area of 10,145 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 1.6 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 it is calculated). Recreational fishing is another national hobby, with one-third of Finns being engaged in leisure fishing in one form or another.

Related links

National strategy for recreational use of nature 2030, in Finnish
Everyman's rights (Ministry of the Environment), in Finnish
National parks in Finland
National database of sport facilities (​
Ecosystem services (
The Finnish Wildlife Agency

Further information

Ville Schildt, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources Department, Metsä- ja biotalousyksikkö Telephone:0295162190   Email Address: