Recreational use of nature

Recreational use of nature means spending time in the natural environment during leisure time for recreational purposes. Common forms of such recreational use include walking, cycling, skiing, berry picking, swimming, hiking and camping. Almost all Finns, about 96% of the adult population, engage in outdoor activities in the natural environment. The traditional everyman’s right, the right of public access, and Finland’s abundant forests and waters provide an excellent setting for outdoor activities and recreation.

In most cases the Finns enjoy the natural environment close to their home, in hiking areas or commercial forests. Access to nature is important in the urban environments as well - studies have shown that spending time in nature and outdoor activities reduce our stress levels and improve our moods. Good natural environments encourage physical activities and offer opportunities both for peace and relaxation and for social interaction. 

Strategy on recreational use of nature

The aim of the strategy on the recreational use of nature is to tell people broadly about the benefits of recreation in natural environments and encourage them to take advantage of these. The aim is also to enhance understanding of the important role of physical activities and recreation in the natural environment in promoting public health and the national economy.  The strategy to 2030 will be prepared during this year in broad-based cooperation. 

The process to prepare the strategy is supported by experts from several ministries and other public bodies, research institutes and NGOs. Private citizens have also been offered the opportunity to participate in the process. Nature has an important role in what it means to be a Finn. Now work for the future is done together to continue and renew the ways we use the natural environment.

More information

Matti Nieminen, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Natural Environment, Bioeconomy 0295250001  

Miliza Malmelin, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Department of the Natural Environment, Bioeconomy 0295250176