The diverse nature of Nuuksio is full of life – tips for nature encounters

There are more than 100 ponds and lakes in the highlands of Nuuksio, and the nature of the area has remained largely untouched due to its high cliffs and rugged nature. Fertile groves surround the canopy forest and spruce forests grow massive amounts of blueberries. Of the 200 square kilometers of the highlands, only a quarter belong to the actual national park.

Old trees rise from the creek valleys; maple, oak and walnut. The oasis like swamps and overgrown ponds give the feeling of a genuine northern wilderness.

Nuuksio’s name dates back to Sámi culture

The history of the central village of Nuuksio dates back 500 years, the first manor in Pitkäjärvi was built in the area at the end of the 18th century. The area is also home to Finland’s oldest ski resort, Swingill, which has been part of Solvalla’s sport education facilities. Although the settlement has its own significance for the area, Nuuksio has always been a nature destination.

The wilderness, which resembles the northern taiga in places, has received its remark from the peoples of the north, and the name Nuuksio is believed to be inherited from the Sámi language. The Sámi traveled through the area in prehistoric times, and the name njukča, the swan, given to the long lake, was later refined and settled in the form of Nuuksio in the 1920s.

In 1994, the 18-square-kilometer area of ​​Tervalampi Manor was declared a national park, from which it has expanded to its current form.

A national park full of life

The symbol of Nuuksio National Park is the flying squirrel, which has recently spread even to the park forests of central Helsinki. In the 53 square kilometer area of ​​the park, the flying squirrel is in its element and almost 200 sectors of the forest have found to be inhabited by these mystical creatures.

Flying squirrels often move in the twilight, but you may see a shadow jumping in the shelter of. the trees throughout the year, even during the day. Lush spruce forests, sturdy wounds and birches are popular habitats of the flying squirrel. At the roots of the trees you can see rice-sized droppings ranging in color from black to yellowish during the spring season. The flying squirrel does not land on the ground at all.

Nearly 400,000 people and their pets visit Nuuksio National Park every year. Still, there is also room for wildlife, the symbol of the park could very well be a resident of the high cliffs and more rugged parts of the park, the only wild cat in our country; the lynx.

Predators and prey

Lynxes are rarely seen in Nuukio, or anywhere, but during the winter you can see rounder footprints on the snow, which can be identified by the claws typically retracted like any other cat. Of Finland’s more than 2,000 lynx, Uusimaa is home to more than 200 individuals.

Lynx prey, roe deer and white-tailed deer are more likely encounters for the visitor, as is Europe’s largest land mammal; the moose. A really lucky one encounters an otter or a badger peeking out of a hole in a creek valley. The presence of a pine-marten can be recognised by the droppings made in the middle of the path, in a prominent place.

Foxes, hares, woodpeckers and a shrew running across the trail tell us that Nuuksio is home to a huge number of animals.

The diverse birdlife offers a range of woodpeckers recognised easily from the knocking sound in the trees. A screaming sound reveals a barn owl or grove owl, do not expect the owls to howl like in cartoons. On the lakes you can see the whooper swan, our national bird, shining white among many other seabirds.

How to encounter and respect nature

You should have a visit to the nature all year round. Encountering animals requires patience and you should have that goal in mind when you enter the fores. Loud noises and dogs should be left at home and it is best to head out early in the morning or at dusk. Move in peace, quiet and observe the surroundings. Stop to listen and think about your own role as an observer, a guest of the animals of the forest.

Here are 5 tips for a nature trip

  1. Go on purpose when the trails are calmer, early morning and dusk are the best times
  2. Walk quietly, do not bring pets
  3. Be sure to observe the environment, the sound of the movement will reveal you but also the animals
  4. Download pictures of animal traces and droppings to your phone, you can also find sound samples of birds online to identify the species
  5. Binoculars are useful and the camera must have a fair zoom, as animals rarely get very close.

Believe in the presence of nature and animals, do not give up. Seeing animals is not easy, but perseverance is rewarded. I myself have witnessed a weasel, a roe deer, an owl and a mole just during an hour long evening walk. Admired the cranes in the fields and after a while photographed a moose up close, watched a shew playing in the leaves on the side of the road while people walking by with their eyes on the feet.

As a small piece of advertising, it is good to remind that staying in the area opens the door to a whole new kind of experience when nature observation is possible around the clock and the peaceful paths open right from the door of the cottage.