Finnish Lapland and the Kuusamo area
2010, 224 pages, Full Colour
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Lapland is Finland’s northernmost province and lies almost entirely above the Arctic Circle. Large parts of the province are wilderness. Most of the land, particularly in the north, is in a pristine state. A visit to Finnish Lapland is an experience that is hard to capture in words. The land is vast and roads are few. The National Park of Lemmenjoki is, together with adjacent reserves in North Norway, the largest area in Europe without roads or drivable tracks. Deep in this wilderness, enigmatic animals, such as Brown Bear, Wolverine, Wolf, Lynx and Elk, lurk. Yet at the same time, the Lapland experience unique wilderness induces reflection. The forests are – and feel – vast and empty. Their silence is all-encompassing and humbling.
Taiga and Tundra
Lapland’s landscape consists of a mosaic of coniferous forests, mires and lakes. This woodland tapestry, punctuated by open water and peat, is called taiga. Towards the north and west, the rounded hills (fells) become increasingly frequent. The barren heathlands, rocks and shallow peatlands on these fells are the tundras of the far north. The taiga and tundra support a superb birdlife. The birds of this northern land include Parrot Crossbill, Pine Grosbeak, Waxwing, Siberian Jay, Siberian Tit and other typical birds of such high latitudes. In addition, Lapland is the breeding ground for many of the waterfowl and waders that winter in the polders and marshlands of central and western Europe.
The Sámi and the Reindeer
The fact that Lapland is a wild and remote area does not mean that it is entirely deserted. Both Finns and Sámi people live in these northern lands. The Sámi lived in Lapland even before the Finns arrived and subsisted for a long time from fishing, hunting and the herding of the typical deer of the north, the Reindeer. Reindeer herding is still very much a part of Sámi life, and adds to the special atmosphere of Lapland.
The Kuusamo area
South-east of Lapland lies the small town of Kuusamo. The land surrounding this town is surrounded by taiga, peatlands, lakes and meadows – not unlike southern Lapland. However, the hilly landscape, the calcareous soils and the old mossy spruce forests support a slightly different (and very rich) flora and fauna. For this reason, the Kuusamo area is included in our Crossbill Guide to Finnish Lapland.
The Crossbill Guide to Finnish Lapland and the Kuusamo area (2010) introduces you to a fascinating northern wilderness and provides you with itineraries to discover the area at your own pace. A trip to Finnish Lapland can easily be combined with one to the north Norwegian coast, the Lofoten Islands in north-west Norway or to the mountainous Sarek in National Park in Swedish Lapland. To the south in Finland , Karelia and the Finnish Lake District (around Savonliina in the south-east) is very much worth a visit.
Photograpy: Dotterel, CGF - Dirk Hilbers; Taiga, CGF - Dirk Hilbers; Reindeer, CGF - Dirk Hilbers; Fairy slipper, CGF - Dirk Hilbers