Oulanka National Park is located in the Northern Ostrobothnia and Lapland region of Finland. It borders with a national park in Russia. The first people to come to settle in this area were the Sami people from Lapland. They stayed here till the end of the 17th century. Today this lovely national park thrives on tourism. There are boats that can be used on the rivers and wooden cabins which hikers can use free of charge. All they have to do is to follow some basic rules with reference to the cabins, wood supply and making sure to protect the surrounding nature. Oulanka became the first of two national parks in Finland to become part of World Wide Fund for Nature’s PAN Parks.
Oulanka National Park is a blend of river valleys that have sandy banks and rapids and wonderful pine forests. This park has an unusual river ecosystem and has a virtually untouched boreal forest which is close to the Arctic Circle and protected by World Wide Fund for Nature to keep it from intensive reindeer herding. Oulanka Research Center located near the visitor’s center does research in geological and biological sciences.
Visitors can delight in many different kinds of trees and plants. In the late summer Oulanka National Park offers and abundant supply of bilberries and mushrooms which visitors can pick. One of the most popular flowers here is the wild orchid. Its many riverbeds and meadows are filled with butterflies of rare kinds of species and over a hundred different kinds of birds have taken up residence here. Among the animal kingdom visitors can glimpse reindeer, lynx, wolverine, bears and moose as well as other game.
Oulanka is home to the most popular Finnish trekking route Karhunkierros and can be accessed year round. There are other hiking trails within the park and some smaller nature trails. Visitors will discover camping areas, wooden cabins and designated fireplaces. There are boats available for traveling on the rivers. In the wintertime winter trails can be explored using snowshoes, skis, or snowmobiles if one prefers. Other activities include cycling and canoeing. For hunting and fishing one must have a license.