Haltiala forest. Photo: Susanna Pimenoff

Large forested nature reserve proposed

A large new nature reserve is proposed for Helsinki. The nature reserve would be established in the Haltiala forest area in the northern section of the Helsinki Central Park. The forest area’s nature is varied and includes groves and wilderness. The area also bears national significance, as it is a sanctuary for endangered and demanding polypores. Endangered polypores discovered in the area include Antrodia piceata and Antrodia cretacea. 

The land area of the Haltiala forest is 137 hectares. The forest combines four existing nature reserves – the Haltiala old-growth forest, Pitkäkoski groves, Vantaanjoki riverbank and Ruutinkoski grove. Together, these existing nature reserves would form a 177-hectare unbroken new nature reserve in Northern Helsinki. 

Residents and non-profits joined proposal preparation

As Haltiala is one of the main recreational areas of Helsinki and the entire metropolitan area, the main goal of area planning here has been to integrate nature conservation and recreational values. The new nature reserve’s planning stage was joined by more than ten resident, nature conservation and recreational organizations. The draft proposal to establish the nature reserve was commented on in 18 statements, all of which supported the proposal. 

“The Haltiala forest is Helsinki’s biggest forested nature conservation area, in which nature conservation and recreational uses are integrated smoothly,” says Director of Environmental Protection Päivi Kippo-Edlund of the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division. 

Erosion to be contained

According to the proposal, recreational uses of the protected area could continue with some changes. For example, cycling would be allowed only on marked trails, and no large events would be allowed in the area from 10 May to 30 June. 

The uses of the Haltiala area are increasing. As a result, it is important that erosion can be contained. The proposed plan for the maintenance and use of the future nature reserve includes increased information to the public and trail improvements. A hydrological evaluation is also proposed for the area to serve as a basis for decisions on future activities with the area’s water resources. 

The City of Helsinki Urban Environment Committee’s Environment and Permits Sub-committee decided in its meeting of 21 November 2019 to propose to the City Board the establishment of the Haltiala forest nature reserve. The final decision on the matter will be made by the Uusimaa Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. The Haltiala forest is included in the Helsinki nature conservation programme 2015–2024. 

Read more:

Haltiala forest on map (PDF)

Plan for the maintenance and use of the Haltiala forest nature reserve 2020–2030 (in Finnish, PDF)

Helsinki nature conservation programme 2015–2024 (in Finnis