TransParcNet Meeting 2019

TransParcNet Meeting 2019, Oulanka National Park (FI) © Stefania Petrosillo

TransParcNet meeting 2019 in Oulanka National Park, Finland 10-14 Jun 2019

What is a border, a real border?…

Many of us are lucky: by living in the middle of the European Union (or, in some way, inside Schengen area), we do not know real borders. Of course, we experiment differences of laws, administrations, rules also between EU Member States, and this makes not always easy the life for people that work crossborder. But how much can be challenging to collaborate with your neighbour, if he is outside EU?

This topic and the cooperation between parks in Finland and Russia has been one of the most inspiring themes discussed during the TransParcNet meeting 2019, hosted by Oulanka National Park (Finland) and co-organised with Paanajärvi National Park (Russia). Over 50 participants from 14 countries gathered in Oulanda, representing protected areas already awarded by the EUROPARC Transboundary Parks Programme or interested to join the network.

Check the album with all the pictures from the TransParcNet 2019 Meeting here!

Oulanka NP (FI)  - photo S.Petrosillo

Oulanka NP (FI)  – photo S.Petrosillo


To arrive in Kuusamo and then at the Oulanka Base Camp was the first little adventure we had, but in the evening all people were there. So nice for everybody to meet old and new colleagues and friends:

the strength of the TransParcNetwork is definitely the strong professional and friendly connection among all members.

In the afternoon, the first meetings were for the new Evaluation and Steering Committee – STEC, with Tiia Kalske nominated as the new Chairperson, and for the Transboundary Task Force, chaired by Riina Tervo: several ideas to promote the programme among other potentially interesting areas, especially in Balkans, Iberian peninsula, and among marine protected areas.

Meeting’s day

(day…? We realize suddenly that is not correct to speak about day and night: the sun is there 22 hours out of 24! Amazing…)

The TransParcNet officially started with the welcome of Matti Hovi of Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland.

Several presentations and debates followed: Parks from Finland, Norway and Russia presented different inspiring experiences of cooperation, despite real borders, difficult history, complex politic in the past and today.

Moreover, Stefania Petrosillo from EUROPARC presented news from the Federation and from EU (do not forget to apply to EU Natura2000 Award! Do not forget to register for the EUROPARC Conference in Latvia in October!). ther Transboundary Areas shared updates and results about their projects, and academic analysis about the “idea” of a border enriches the debate from a sociological point of view.

The new candidate for the Transboundary areas between Italy and Switzerland (Alpe Veglia Devero Nature Park and Binntal Landschaftspark) introduced themselves

Meeting – Photo: Zasilka

EUROPARC meetings are the opportunity for sharing not only ideas but also “concrete” stuff: a buffet composed by local products coming from all present protected areas let the participants enjoy different special tastes (including the smoked reindeer’s tongue… listening stories on reindeers’ husbandry by a Sami representative of Inari Pasvik-Inari Trilateral Park FI/NO/RU).

International Buffet – Photo: S. Petrosillo

To conclude the day: the sauna (very hot) and a dip in the lake (very cold), under the full sun at 23.30 PM!

Download all the presentations:

From Finland and Russia

From the TransParcNetwork

Field trip Day

How to visit a park composed of forests, lacks, and rivers? By canoeing, of course!

The group experienced 5 hours of canoeing along the Patoniva river, discovering the beauty landscape and the tourism infrastructures, and discussing about the balance between parks rules and the Finnish “everyman’s right” to roam (walk, ski, ride a horse, cycle, set up camp temporarily, sail, fish, pick mineral samples or wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, in the countryside freely where this does not harm the natural environment).

Tourism is increasing in the Oulanka National Park: that impacts especially on social carrying capacity for the local inhabitants (used to walking in the nature without meeting anybody…)  and Metsähallitus (the state agency in charge of Parks & Wildlife) promotes initiatives to divert the tourism flows to other less known parks of the region.

In Finland, nature is not only wild, it’s free for everyone to enjoy, respectfully. The general public’s right allows an access to anyone living in or visiting Finland the freedom to roam the countryside, forage, fish with a line and rod, and enjoy the recreational use of natural areas. We call this “The Everyman’s Rights”


This extraordinary freedom, known as Everyman’s Rights or Jokamiehen Oikeudet, extends throughout the country, from the majestic Northern forest which covers 75% of the land, to the 188,000 inland lakes and countless islands along the southern and western coast that make up the Finnish archipelago. Please remember, however, that with such rights, come responsibility. Finland’s arctic nature, particularly in Lapland, is very fragile. Please read carefully, leave no trace, don’t go near someone’s private property and keep out of restricted areas which are there to protect vulnerable environments and wildlife such as nesting birds. Otherwise, enjoy! Finland’s beautiful nature is for everyone to explore.

Working together

At the end of the day, we heard presentations about the common projects and initiatives between Oulanka and Paanajärvi Transboundary Parks by theAlexander Bizhon and Sari Alatossava, and other park’s technicians:

mutual trust, common passion, and shared vision are the keys for successful transboundary cooperation, despite all borders!

Alexander Bizhon & Sari Alatossava, Oulanka-Paanajärvi Transboundary Parks - photo S.Petrosillo

Alexander Bizhon & Sari Alatossava, Oulanka-Paanajärvi Transboundary Parks – photo S.Petrosillo

Leaving… or not. Russia post-trip.

Time to leave: back home for somebody, and to discover the amazing wilderness of Paanajärvi National Park to many others.

Paanajärvi NP (RU) – photo Sari Alatossava

Paanajärvi NP (RU) – photo Sari Alatossava

See you next year for the TransParcNet Meeting 2020! (Who will be the Transboundary area who will host it?)

transboundary parks awards 2016

Click on the image to learn more about the cooperation between Oulanka and Paanajärvi National Parks.