Possibilities to establish new national parks in Finland are being explored. Ministry of the Environment of Finland has received 16 national park initiatives from municipalities, civic organizations and individual persons during summer 2012. Additionally, two initiatives to develop existing national parks have been delivered.
National park (NP) initiatives located in the Barents Region are:
- Hossa NP in Suomussalmi
- Vaara-Kainuu NP in Puolanka
- Olvassuo NP in Pudasjärvi
- North-West Lapland NP in Enontekiö
- Kuhmo NP
- Sanginjoki NP in Oulu
In Hossa, main values are natural boreal forests with valuable ice age formations as eskers, representative aapa mires and significant polypore species. Vaara-Kainuu initiative would complement current protected area network with old, middle boreal upland forests and mires. Suggested area is inhabited by several threatened and near-threatened species as flying squirrel and red-flanked bluetail.
National parks are corner stones for nature protection and have a strong international brand. They have an important role in safeguarding biodiversity and providing ecosystem services and possibilities for recreation.
In Finland, 37 national parks have been established. Minister of the Environment of Finland Ville Niinistö will align the perspectives of the initiatives during September 2012.