7 tips for enjoying the outdoors responsibly

Mushroom hunting in Mustavuori forest.
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Nature in Helsinki is always close by and easy to get to. A responsible outdoors person respects nature, wildlife and also other people. Here are some tips on how to leave only your footprint in nature!

Explore the outdoors nearby

In Helsinki, it’s worth looking nearby. You don't have to travel for hours to get out into the nature, as the shoreline and forests can be found right next door. The Finnish capital region offers plenty of space and the peace of nature, and at the same time you will also find companies offering urban services and nature activities. Exploring the outdoors nearby will help support local entrepreneurs and leave a smaller footprint!

Use public transport

You can access many nature destinations in the metropolitan area easily using public transport. The shorelines in Helsinki and neighbouring Espoo offer lots of outdoor opportunities just a short metro ride away, and in summertime you can get out to the islands on ferries and waterbuses. Also in summertime, you should make use of the extensive network of city bikes and enjoy a cycling tour. On foot, you can reach the 11-kilometre-long central park (Keskuspuisto) from the city centre. In addition, there are no less than three national parks close to Helsinki that you can reach by public transport. Helsinki and the outlying areas also offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy fully accessible nature experiences for people with wheelchairs or strollers.

Seen from above, two foragers stop for a coffee break on a large, mossy rock, resting a wicker basket half-full of Chanterelles between them. In the frame you can only see the foragers' legs, basket, coffee and the ground.
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Enjoy picking mushrooms and berries and catching fish

In Finland, Everyman’s Right allows everyone to enjoy nature anywhere in the Finnish countryside regardless of land ownership. For example, you can pick mushrooms, berries, wild herbs and flowers. You can also fish with a simple rod and line, although you should check local fishing restrictions in advance. A responsible outdoors person will remember that Everyman’s Right includes also responsibilities; for example, you should avoid disturbing homes and other private buildings and make sure not to damage nature.

Take a break around a campfire

Food always tastes great outdoors, and designated campfire sites are the perfect places to cook the food you have just picked or caught. In nature reserves and national parks, designated campfire sites are marked on the map of the area, and you can also check in advance to see if firewood is provided. It is permitted to collect dry twigs and fir cones, as long as you don’t damage or chop down trees. Campfires are not included in Everyman’s Rights and must be permitted by Metsähallitus or the landowner. Disposable grills are also considered campfires. To avoid having to make a campfire, you can use a portable camp stove without having to request permission.

Protect natural diversity

You can help preserve nature by staying on marked trails and familiarising yourself in advance with any nature reserves in the area, including possible restrictions and permitted times. Do not feed animals or disturb nesting. Flowers picked in nature will look delightful at home in a vase, just don’t pick protected or endangered species. Moss or lichen also should not be picked.

Control your dog

Enjoying the outdoors together with man’s best friend is always fun, but remember not to disturb the wild animals and keep your dog on a leash. Dogs running free may also scare other people you come across. As another consideration for others, remember to pick up after your dog and dispose of the waste bag in a bin for mixed waste.

And last but not least: Don’t litter

With the exception of public parks, waste bins are few and far between out in nature. The golden rule of enjoying the outdoors is: bring out what you bring in. So remember to pack a garbage bag or two with you. You can also help look after nature with small deeds, such as plogging – a fun combination of jogging and picking up litter. Both your body and nature will thank you for it!

A man is walking a medium sized grey dog up a hill in the woods of Alppipuisto Park
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Checklist for enjoying the outdoors responsibly:

- Pack with a garbage bag and take at least your own garbage with you when you leave.

- Use designated rest areas to take a break.

- Stay on marked trails.

- Do not feed the animals or disturb nesting.

- Remember that campfires are not included in Everyman’s Rights.

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Nature in Helsinki is always close by and easy to get to. A responsible outdoors person respects nature, wildlife and also other people. Here are some tips on how to leave only your footprint in nature!