One of Metsähallitus’ duties is to nurture the cultural heritage on state-owned land and water areas. In this work, Metsähallitus is implementing the Government's 2010 real-estate strategy and 2014 cultural environment strategy.
Metsähallitus manages almost 400 protected buildings and more than 6,000 antiquities. In addition to these, thousands of important cultural heritage sites are cared for in state-owned land and water areas, ranging from national landscapes to heritage biotopes and environments, and from castle ruins to structures related to the history of forest use. People are interested in the past: in 2016, Metsähallitus’ historic sites attracted more than 830,000 visitors.
In the Sámi Homeland, Metsähallitus secures the preconditions for the Sámi culture in cooperation with local actors. In addition to sites protected on a statutory basis, Metsähallitus has decided to secure the protection of thousands of valuable cultural heritage sites in multiple-use forests. In marine regions, the protection of the archipelago culture is integral to Metsähallitus’ operations. An example of this is the diverse tourist and hiking services developed over the years, in cooperation with local actors, for the Kvarken World Heritage Site, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2016.
Management of real estate property considered valuable in terms of its cultural history became a statutory duty for Metsähallitus on the basis of the new Act on Metsähallitus (234/2016). Accordingly, Parks & Wildlife Finland manages the valuable landscapes, architectural heritage and archaeological sites in the areas it administers, in a way which reflects its responsible and systematic ownership policy.
Metsähallitus manages traditional landscapes in protected areas in accordance with its management and use plans, in accordance with the guidance of the Ministry of the Environment. It also manages buildings and antiquity sites in collaboration with the museum authorities. The cultural heritage is mapped before any management and restoration measures are undertaken.
The preservation of cultural heritage for future generations is also taken into account in multiple-use forests in commercial use. New guidelines to this effect have been drawn up in cooperation with the National Board of Antiquities and other organisations, and incorporated into Metsähallitus’ Environmental Guidelines for Practical Forest Management. In accordance with the environmental objectives for 2016, four training sessions were arranged for Forestry staff in identifying cultural heritage sites and taking them into account in forestry operations. Approximately 80 members of staff attended these.
Photo: Kari Leo