Instructions on Exploring Ruunaa Hiking Area

ALLOWED

  • Moving around and camping according to Everyman’s right, although it is recommended that visitors camp in the designated places.
  • Picking berries and mushrooms.
  • Mountain biking is allowed according to everyman’s rights. Always stay on clearly visible tracks and pay attention to other hikers.
  • Hook-and-line fishing and ice fishing at Lake Neitijärvi and Kattilalampi Pond.
  • Lure fishing at Lake Neitijärvi and Kattilalampi Pond. Persons aged 18-64 years must pay the fisheries management fee (www.eräluvat.fi). If you fish with more than one rod on Lake Neitijärvi and Kattilalampi Pond, you also need Metsähallitus’ angling permit no 7413 for Southern Finland (www.eräluvat.fi). Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).

FORBIDDEN

  • Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect
    • Making open fires is always prohibited at both marked campfire sites and when fires are permitted by the land owner if a forest fire warning has been issued for the area (ilmatieteenlaitos.fi). 
    • This prohibition does not apply to cooking shelters or other fireplaces with a flue.
  • Pets running at large
  • Driving motor vehicles, except on roads designated for motor vehicles
  • Using jet skis or all-terrain vehicles
  • Fishing from an anchored boat in the rapids and currents
  • Dragging a lure behind a motor boat
  • Water bird hunting
  • Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions
  • Catching crayfish.
    • Because of the crayfish pest, catching crayfish is forbidden in the area for now.

RESTRICTED

  • A campfire is only allowed at sites marked for this purpose.
  • Moving in Ruunaa Nature Reserve inside the 2–3 km wide frontier zone which goes along the border. The zone has been marked with signs and with yellow paint on trees or poles. Special permission is needed for entering the frontier zone.
  • Fishing. Ruunaa Rapids (no. 7525) is a Metsähallitus recreational fishing area, in which an area-specific fishing permit and fisheries management permit are required for fishing (see fishing in rapids). Exceptions to this are Lake Neitijärvi and Kattilampi Pond, where general fishing rights apply, i.e. hook-and-line fishing and ice fishing as well as fishing with a fisheries management fee (www.eräluvat.fi) and Metsähallitus recreational fishing permit for Southern Finland (www.eräluvat.fi). The general fishing rights have been removed everywhere except Lake Neitijärvi and Kattilampi Pond. Fishing from a boat is permitted throughout the region. Use of a motor boat for fishing (trolling) and anchoring boats in rapids and running areas are prohibited.
  • Hunting is allowed in an area of about 110 sq.km. but to ensure the safety of hikers and fishermen in the area, hunting is forbidden between Lieksanjoki River and Koskireitti Trail around the rapids, and on Lieksanjoki River itself.
  • Driving snowmobiles, as it is only allowed on snowmobile tracks.
    • For your safety, we do not recommend skiing on snowmobile tracks.

Preparations

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE

  • Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas within the hiking area without coverage. There are also some smaller “blind spots” where something blocks the signal. If you don’t have signal, try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phone models may also support different mobile network frequencies. 
  • We recommend that you keep your mobile phone warm at all times. Certain phone models do not work when the temperature falls below zero. To keep your mobile phone charged, bring along a spare power source, a spare battery or a spare phone with a working battery.
  •  Always pack along food and drinks and let someone know your planned route. This way you’re more prepared if you get lost and don’t have signal.

EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY

  • Sturdy shoes (e.g. hiking boots) are needed for the terrain of Ruunaa Hiking Area. There are duckboards that allow you to cross the mire and wetland sections, but they can be slippery on rainy days.
  • In May and September, a wetsuit keeps you warm if you go into the cold water.
  • If you face an emergency on your hike, e.g. get lost, get injured or observe a wildfire, call 112 and report an emergency. More information on how to act in an emergency.
  • Make sure you pack a first-aid kit.
  • Read more about hiking in Finland:

SEASONS

  • After the spring floods, the water level usually falls slowly during the summer.
  • Snow and ice cover Ruunaa Rapids from November until May.
  • During the winter, the ice on the river may be fragile because of currents. The currents may also shift to different places.
  • The road to the parking area of Neitikoski is ploughed in the winter. The road 5224 to Ruunaa can be in a bad condition in the spring.

PEAK SEASONS

  • Ruunaa is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Finland, especially in July and August.
  • Fishermen usually arrive at Ruunaa in mid-April when the ice on the rapids is melting. For many people, the beginning of the fishing season is the first weekend of May, when fish planting also starts. The actual peak season for fishing is between the Midsummer festival (around the 24th June) and mid-August.
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