THE ASCENT PROJECT AT HOSSA
New tools and ideas to benefit Hossa
Hossa National Park was established as Finland’s 40th National Park in 2017 to celebrate 100 years of independence. Hossa National Park with its surrounding areas forms the Finnish ASCENT project site. ASCENT has provided new tools and exchanging of ideas and working methods that are beneficial to Hossa, its visitors and the community.
For decades, Hossa has been a very popular hiking and fishing destination and with national park status, visitor numbers doubling from 2016, to 120 000 visits in 2017. This has meant a growing need for visitor guidance, up-grading of services and hiking structures.
Hossa National Park has about 90 km of marked trails, offering a safe and yet unforgettable visitor experience. Water sports, such as canoeing and scuba diving, attract people to the aquatic nature of Hossa. Hossa’s extensive and well-connected waterways are in fact one of the reasons why human settlement began in the area. Other summer activities include fishing, sup boarding, bird watching, mountain biking and foraging berries and mushrooms. In winter, cross country skiers and snow shoe hikers are free to roam the forests and cross the lakes of Hossa. Ice fishing can take place in the 130 lakes and ponds of Hossa. Hossa can therefore be referred to as a very versatile destination with something for everyone – a key element of its popularity.
However, with popularity come many challenges. As Hossa is situated in a barren landscape, the ground is very sensitive to erosion. Recovery of the natural environment is slow, and with growing visitor numbers, challenges concerning sustainability are ever present. Hossa’s landscape is hilly and the sandy slopes erode easily making it tempting to walk outside the existing path and therefore making the problem worse. Paths have been made more durable with gravel and many structures have been rebuilt or up-graded to accommodate the high number of visitors.
Although Hossa may be very different from the other ASCENT sites, as it is a vast area with a relatively low topography, Hossa faces common challenges apparent across all sites. Growing visitor numbers, erosion and health & safety issues have been raised on many occasions. Learning from the experiences of ASCENT partner countries, is in an important role in planning and implementing the sustainable future of Hossa National Park.
Did you know?
Hossa National Park was established as Finland’s newest and 40th National Park in 2017, marking 100 years of Finland’s independence.
It is possible to travel from Hossa all the way to the Bothnian Bay by water, a distance of more than 350km.
Ms. Anu Hjelt
Ascent Project Partner
WHAT OUR COMMUNITY HAS TO SAY
It’s good to have a national park accessible for everyone. Hossa’s ethos of offering a wide range of activities works well. The natural environment in Hossa is surprisingly diverse and services are well organised. The national park is tidy and the infrastructure is in good shape.
— Risto Häkkinen and Jaakko Heinonen
First time Hikers in Hossa
Hossa is accessible for families with small children, too. Dry woodlands offer easy walking grounds and nice outings. Our two-year-old sat in a child carrier all the way to the Värikallio rock paintings. With the smaller one in a baby trolley we could reach Hossa’s nature following accessible paths.
— Veikko Leinonen and family
It is great to see how the co-operation between the stakeholders of the area has grown since the national park was established. For me, Hossa has always offered peace, silence and beauty for all senses. Hossa’s pine hills and clear waters are a perfect setting for spending active days hiking, canoeing and cycling.
— Saija Taivalmäki
Yoga Instructor - JoogaTaival
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