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Finland approves establishment of Salla National Park

The 10,000-hectare area in Lapland will become Finland's 41st National Park.

The area is located between the Sallatunturi Nature Reserve and the Russian border in Finnish Lapland. Image: Sauli Antikainen / Yle

Finland's Parliament on Tuesday approved a government proposal to establish Sallatunturi National Park in Finnish Lapland.

The approximately 10,000-hectare area of diverse ecology is located along the country's northeastern border with Russia, in close proximity to the Sallatunturi Nature Reserve, and will become Finland's 41st national park.

The initiative to establish the park originated from within the municipality itself, with MP and Environment Committee member Mari-Leena Talvitie (NCP) telling Parliament's plenary session that cooperation with local agencies and organisations has progressed smoothly.

The government's fourth supplementary budget of 2021 allocated some 4.5 million euros towards the cost of establishing the park.

However, Talvitie said that the Environment Committee is concerned about ongoing funding for the park, as the maintenance of camping facilities alone constantly requires additional resources.

Minister of the Interior Krista Mikkonen (Green) told Parliament that the Salla National Park is expected to increase jobs in the area by 90 person-years — a HR term that calculates the amount of work carried out by one member of staff throughout the year, expressed in hours — and annual tax revenues by a total of 400,000 euros over the next seven years.

Mikkonen added that the park will support sustainable nature tourism, as it can be reached by public transport from southern Finland.