Discover the fascinating two billion years of history of Geopark. Hiking and cycling routes as well as nature attractions invite you to explore Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark.
Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Parks, known for their beautiful scenery, are located in the Geopark area.
You can travel back in time to the past on the easy routes of Lauhanvuori National Park. The number one sight of Lauhanvuori is Kivijata, an impressive stone field formed of rare sandstone. On Lauhanvuori you may also see Finnish forest deer, for example.
Photo: Sannamari Ratilainen / Metsähallitus Parks and Wildlife Finland, Lauhanvuori National Park
In Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park you may experience magnificent wild mire nature. Kauhaneva’s duckboard route leads you to the heart of the mire. The path of Katikankanjoni takes you into the mysterious ravine shaded by spruces.
Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park
Haapakeidas mire reserve is the largest and most diverse mire area in Geopark. In the early summer on the hiking trails the air is filled with the scent of wild rosemary. You may watch birds in observation towers or on duckboard trails. Read more about birds in our article.
There are several mire destinations within the Geopark area that are also suitable for children. See the best sites and tips in our article.
Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Haapakeidas
Hämeenkangas offers tens of kilometers of easy-going routes with many resting places as well as great natural attractions. Hiking, biking, canoeing – there are diverse nature sports opportunities in Hämeenkangas.
Photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Hämeenkangas
Climb the observation towers of the rocky hills and gaze to the wide forest and mire landscapes. There are many creeks, ponds and meandering small rivers in Geopark, too. Thus the area offers experiences for e.g. canoeists and fishermen as well.
Read more about Geopark’s diverse destinations on our website.
Photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Käskyvuori
The cultural sites of Geopark tell about the common history of the people and nature of the area. Discover Geopark’s diverse museums, unique architecture, traditional churches and art at the Kankaanpää Art Circle or along the roads.
The creativity of the area’s residents becomes visible on the Route of Arts. The joyful contemporary folk art that change every year can be seen, for example in Karvia and Parkano. You will find the most interesting places to visit in our brochure.
Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Alpon savanni
Geopark’s trails take you in the middle of nature to see the best attractions. Geopark offers both easy and family-friendly trails as well as more demanding routes suitable for multi-day hikes with overnight stays.
Geopark’s hiking trails are compiled in Geopark’s brochure (in Finnish).
Photo: Lauri Kurki, Lauhanvuori National Park
On Geopark’s new Two Billion Year Tours cycling route, you will get to know 1 900 million years of Finnish history in the best possible way – by cycling through it. The routes connect Geopark’s most significant places to visit and the most beautiful landscapes, as well as municipal centers and the best tourist services.
Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Jämijärvi
The three long Traveller routes going along the roads offer overnight adventures for experienced cyclists. The shorter Enjoyer routes are suitable for day trips for families, for example. Real adventures await on the Adventurer routes on mountain bike trails. You can cycle to Geopark’s routes from EuroVelo 10 route and from Järvien reitit cycling routes.
Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kihniö
A snack by the campfire is one of the highlights of the nature trip. Make it luxury and order a ready meal for your family or group to the campfire, or grab a snack from the area’s cafes or restaurants.
Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Käskyvuori
There are lots of great places in Geopark to take a break by the campfire. Most sites have firewood freely available to visitors. Campfires are only allowed at marked campfire sites. Please notice that it is strictly prohibited to set fire during a forest or grass fire warning. Check the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website for warnings. You can find the campfire sites on the map.
Photo: Niina Rautiainen / NR Visuals, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park
Spend the night in a tent or hammock and experience the magical atmosphere of the Geopark’s summer nights and early mornings. Please note that camping in protected areas is only allowed in specific areas. You can find site-specific instructions on the nationalparks.fi website. There are also very nice commercial camping sites available in Geopark.
Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Korsukylä
Geopark’s summer is full of events: open-air concerts and summer theater as well as art exhibitions and sports. Willi Karvia, for example, offers great concerts and theater experiences at the Skantz Cultural Center, of which architecture is inspired by a 17th-century fort.
Kankaanpää has a long Finnish baseball tradition. You can feel the atmosphere of the game in the arena of the team of Kankaanpään Maila.
Photo: Niina Rautiainen / NR Visuals, Skantz Cultural Center
During the summer, the villages of Geopark come to life. For example, cafes, restaurants, boutiques and farm shops attract tourists and residents of the area to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.
Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva, Karvia
Enjoy Geopark destinations on a guided tour. With an expert local guide, you’ll find the best routes and sites and hear related stories. With a guide, you will get the most out of your trip. Companies also rent equipment such as canoes and electric mountain bikes to your independent adventures.
Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park
Promote your well-being on a guided wellness trip to nature. Complete your nature experience in sauna and with pampering treatments. Relax in the soft steam of the smoke sauna or more common but still traditional sauna by a lake, for example. Enjoy the gentle treatments made with the peat of the area’s mires as well.
Photo: Laura Vanzo / Visit Tampere, Kirkkokadun Hyvän Olon Keskus
The traditional Human in Nature event will be held in Parkano in late August. The theme of this year’s event is biodiversity. From Thursday to Sunday, the event offers a high-quality seminar, guided tours in Geopark, a tradition day at SyVilla and a family event at the Forest Museum. Read more on the Visit Parkano website.
Photo: Hanna Tuuri /Tuuri-Tiedotus, Parkano Forest Museum
More Joy offers e.g. dishcloths with nature-themed patterns made out of natural fibers. Joyful patterns are created in collaboration with different designers or according to the customer’s wishes. In the factory store you will find both gifts and nice craft packages for children. Read more on the More Joy’s website.
Photo: More Joy
Kesport Kauhajoki offers electric bicycle and sup board rental. In addition to rental equipment, you can buy all the necessary equipment for your active nature holiday in the shop. Read more on Kesport Kauhajoki’s website.
Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Lauhanvuori National Park
Outar offers courses (also online) related to natural colors. Natural colors are suitable for harmonious creative moments. From plants you can extract a lot of fascinating dyes that can be used in crafts and art in many ways.
For example, you may attend the Watercolors and Inks from Natural Colors course in Parkano on Saturday 11th of June. Prepare your own inks from plants and make paintings with them. In the course, you will learn how to make pigment powders, watercolors and inks from plants you have collected, as well as from plant color extracts. Read more on Outar’s website.
Photo: Ronja Kuokkanen / Outar
The guesthouse is located in Kauhajoki, in a former parsonage built in the 1890s, surrounded by a wild garden. The building has been luxuriously refurbished with a mix of Scandinavian bohemianism and antiques. The guesthouse offers six unique double rooms with soft beds and beautiful décor. Read more on the website of The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse.
Photo: The Salaisen Puutarhan Majatalo Guesthouse
Charming Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop is located just a bit over a kilometer from the the guesthouse. In the café you can enjoy delicacies made in the own bakery along the same street. The café’s cakes and pastries are known for their delicacy. Their authentic flavors are created with American and South Ostrobothnian family recipes and local ingredients. The most famous of the cakes is the Chocolate Cake of the Secret Garden, baked on an organic spelt and also served at the guesthouse’s breakfast. Read more on the website of Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop.
Photo: Valkoinen Puu Café & Shop
Meggala Winery produces high-quality, aromatic and tasty wines with a passion for professional winemaking and domestic ingredients. You can enjoy Meggala’s drinks at the farm’s own restaurant or buy from the farm shop. In the restaurant and café you can also enjoy snacks with coffee, for example. Meals are served on restaurant days and on request.
In the summer, you can take part in Meggala’s sparkling wine and beer yoga and summer bingo, or take part in a wine tasting and winery tour. During Midsummer, Meggala offers happy summer atmosphere, as people gather for the Midsummer market. Attend also karaoke terrace dance and taste local burgers. Read more on Meggala’s website.
Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva
Take a meditative, about 15-minute virtual trip to Finnish nature with the help of Visoko’s videos. The virtual trip will deepen your connection with nature and you will respect nature more. Your vitality will increase, you will calm down and your stress management will improve. Get a 30% discount on videos in the Visoko’s online store with the code LHGeo. Read more on Visoko’s website.
Enjoy Southern Europe inspired meals in the Luomajärvi Horse Inn’s quality restaurant. Once a month in the summer, the inn’s restaurant serves delicious Spanish, Italian and French flavors.
The inn offers a wide range of summer activities in a real old-fashioned rural setting. There are e.g. children’s horseback riding, family-friendly Day at the Farm programs, rustic horse-drawn carriage rides and riding hikes available. You can also rent fatbikes and electric touring bikes for your individual adventures on Geopark’s cycling routes. Read more on the Luomajärvi Horse Inn’s website.
Photo: The Luomajärvi Horse Inn
Get into the local way of life in a small rural village of Jämijärvi on Saturday 11th of June. The residents open the gates of their yards to visitors and offer a wide range of activities such as flea markets pop-up cafes, concerts and craft workshops. Take part in a fishing competition or go on a boat trip on an old wooden boat. You can also climb the church tower with permission! You can find the map and timetable on the website of the organizer.
Photo: Tuomo Leikkola
Explore the unique Circle of Art by walking along the Art Trail or cycling around it. The Circle of Art consists of more than a hundred works of art permanently placed in the urban environment. IN the Circle of Art the work of art, the environment and the landscape meet in the finest possible way.
Kankaanpää Market Square is popular meeting place for the residents of wide region. The market is open all year round on Thursdays and also on summer Saturdays. At the end of the summer, the traditional Hörhiäisviikko event offers a wide range of music, art, sport, well-being and a nice market spirit. Read more on the City of Kankaanpää’s website.
Photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva
Design your own brick in the Art Association’s workshop. The bricks will be placed in the brick wall of the Circle of Art. In May, the Kankaanpää Art Association organized these workshops. It is still possible to participate in the workshop on Saturday 28th af May from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Inquiries: Kankaanpää Art Association
Photo: Laura Koivumäki
Please, always mind nature and other people during your nature trips. Respect nature in every way and keep your pets in leash. Prevent the waste in advance and bring your rubbish from the nature and sort them properly.
Please, use the marked routes that lead you to the best sites. Using marked trails prevent the harmful effects on nature elsewhere. Each mode of transport has its own routes. Stay in the terrain only in areas designated for camping. Read more on the website.
Photo: Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife Finland, Outdoor Etiquette
Get to know the inhabitants, the culture and the nature of the area through the Geopark’s In a blink of an eye promotional film. What we see in a blink of an eye is the result of billions of years of geological evolution.
Watch the video on YouTube and enjoy!
Photo: Terttu Hermansson, Siikainen
Main photo: Mirja Koivisto / Tarinakuva
Other photos: Aili Raudla-Majakangas, Terttu Hermansson
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Global Geoparks Network encourages its members to pay attention to the state of the world’s migratory birds and the changes that have taken place in their migratory routes.
May 14, 2022
Global Geoparks Network encourages its members to pay attention to the state of the world’s migratory birds and the changes that have taken place in their migratory routes, and to organize events to highlight these issues.
At the initiative of the United Nations, World Migratory Bird Day has been celebrated twice a year since 2006, in May and October on the second Saturday of the month. That’s when spring and autumn migration of birds are usually at their peak.
The aim of the World Migratory Bird Day events is to raise public awareness of the importance of international cooperation in the conservation of migratory birds. Migratory birds do not care about border formalities when traveling but use the airspace of numerous states and even cross entire continents.
Although the migratory journeys of birds are long, many species progress in short stretches of day and rest in between. So, they need safe, undisturbed, species-specific resting and dining areas. Based on the implementation of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), action will be taken worldwide to promote the safe migration of birds.
The World Migratory Bird Day 2022 campaign focuses on “light pollution,” which has been found to cause problems, especially for nocturnal insectivorous birds.
About 250 different bird species nest in Finland. The number of birds living here is estimated at about 100 million. Admittedly, it varies greatly with the seasons, as more than 80 % of the species that nest here migrate elsewhere.
Some birds only move as much as they are forced to. For example, swans and the hardest waterfowl move further south only that the body of water remains thawed. Other species, on the other hand, make very long migratory journeys, such as the Arctic Tern, which migrates from the extreme, arctic regions of the north to the fringes of the Antarctic. The length of the journey can be up to 20,000 km twice a year. The weight of the bird is about 100 g. And the Common Tern, not bad either, it migrates from the home lake to southern Africa to spend the winter.
Numerous bird species in the northern hemisphere move south to the equator for the winter. Species flying to southern Africa will have to cross a vast, demanding Sahara Desert. So do our Common house martins, which weigh only 15-23 g. If there is no peaceful oasis with drinking places along the way, the trip can end short.
Many other insectivores are also migrating to Africa. Among other things, all the Northern wheatears in the world – including the Finns – overwinter there. Thus, on the American continent, Northern wheatears nesting in Alaska travel about 14,500 km across Asia to central Africa. A Whinchat that nests on the outskirts of meadows in Finland spends its winter in the savannahs of Africa with lions and zebras. The osprey, on the other hand, fishes in the African lakes during the winter season.
In addition to leaving our own migratory birds in the autumn and arriving in the spring, Finland is also a transit country for many bird species. The passage of Arctic waders, Long-tailed ducks, Common scoters and Velvet scoters can reach millions of individuals. Today, several hundred flocks leave the migration of hundreds of thousands of geese to feed in Finnish fields. Before, Barnacle geese used to fly by, now, some of them stay here to nest.
Wading birds in the Arctic tend to migrate to the southern hemisphere. Almost 20 species of water and shorebirds in the Arctic coastal region regularly migrate across Finland. They do not nest here but remain on the shallow seashore for long periods of time, especially during the autumn migration. Among other things, on the beach sludge in the autumn, the Curlew sandpiper does not nest or overwinter anywhere in Europe, but it does stop by to eat.
So where is the “home” of the migratory bird? Is it in a nesting area in Finland, or perhaps in a wintering area in the Mediterranean countries / Africa / Asia? Why does it go on such a long and arduous journey at all, where it is exposed to many dangers? It can catch prey on its way or be killed by a person shooting birds for fun. The traditional resting and dining places of its migration route may have turned into a built-up area with no more room for an exhausted little bird. So why go far north to nest? Wouldn’t a closer place be found for reproduction?
The northern spring and early summer have some characteristics that help the nesting succeed: in the spring and early summer, the air is “thick” with flying insects, so there is enough food for the hatching chicks. In the long, bright night in the north, mothers can feed their chicks at night as well. The chicks of many bird species would not survive the tropics’ 12-hour night without feeding. Among other things, these reasons cause birds to return to their birthplace, their “home,” repeatedly.
More than a third of the bird species nesting in Finland have declined. Birds wintering in Africa and Asia in particular, as well as birds nesting in the farmland and northern bird species, are declining alarmingly. The populations of species nesting in wetlands and agglomerations began to decline in the early 2000s. Migratory species suffer most often man-made deterioration of living conditions during the migratory period and in wintering areas. The former resting and eating places may have been completely lost, for example due to construction. There is therefore a need for international cooperation to ensure safe migration routes for birds.
Geopark areas contribute to the adequacy and safety of nesting and resting areas. In the Lauhanvuori – Hämeenkangas Geopark area, there are bogs on Metsähallitus’ lands where moving is forbidden during the nesting and migration period of birds. Restrictions are also needed to allow birds to rest during the autumn migration in Kauhaneva. The purpose of the marked trails and duckboard paths is to ensure nesting peace also outside the restricted areas.
Organized by BirdLife Finland and carried out by regional bird associations, the most important bird gathering areas in each province (winter and migratory feeding and resting areas and areas for molting of feathers) have been identified. In the Lauhanvuori – Hämeenkangas Geopark area, there are 11 of these regionally important bird areas, in addition to the two already known nationally important bird areas, Puurokeidas – Hannankeidas and Häädetkeidas Nature Park + Keidaslammit ponds. The identification of migratory breeding areas and migration routes is particularly important so that they can be considered in social decision-making, such as zoning, and so that the birdlife important values of the areas are not inadvertently degraded.
More information on migratory bird routes and resting areas is needed. Thus, Lauhanvuori – Hämeenkangas Geopark invites bird enthusiasts in the area to participate in the World Migratory Bird Day on Saturday, May 14, 2022.
Text: Eira-Maija Savonen
Photos: Terttu Hermansson
Main image: World Migratory Bird Day
Schoolchildren have learned about the Geopark and the use and values of forests on 4-H Forest Days in Niiniharju, Hämeenkangas.
The Geopark Rangers have told young people about the Geopark and the excursion destination during the 4-H association’s Forest Days in Niiniharju in Jämi. The Forest Days have been organized by the 4-H of Satakunta area, and the Forestry Association Karhu and the Geopark have been involved in offering the program for the days. The Finnish Forest Foundation finances a considerable part of the transport costs of the schoolchildren.
Photo: Annukka Pörsti
In the 4-H Forest Days, which are held every year all over Finland, young people get information about the forest, learn the skills of being in forest and together observe the forest nature. In addition, the information provided in the Forest Days include work in forest sector, fire handling, every man’s rights, recycling etc.
Photo: Pasi Talvitie
At the Forest Days in autumn 2021 in Niiniharju, Hämeenkangas, Geopark Ranger Kristiina Peltomaa told the schoolchildren about Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark. UNESCO status indicates that the area is geologically valuable and unique.
Kristiina explained to the youngsters how certain events in history, such as the Ice Age, have affected the area and how its signs are visible around the feet and in local traditions. The stories told on the particular place made the events of history alive. Schoolchildren ran down and up the kettle hole. The exercise made the youngsters familiar with the landforms and the landscape of the area.
Photo: Annukka Pörsti
After the Geopark introduction, the images attached to the trees of the forests were searched. In the images, flora and fauna typical to the area were presented. The species in the images were identified and it was discussed together how the species relate to this particular environment and to each other and why this habitat is important to them.
Photo: Päivi Lindfors
Kristiina had also hidden buckets in the terrain, in which she had collected various samples for the participants to examine. There were various lichens in one bucket, mosses in another, cones in the third, and differnt kind of seeds in the fourth. Especially the characteristics and dispersal strategies of different seeds seemed to be a particularly interesting topic among young people as completely new things were learned about them.
Photo: Annukka Pörsti
During the Geopark session, the dry leaves of Tilia cordata were also examined. The name of the place, Niiniharju, refers to the tree species. Kristiina told about the Atlantic period, when deciduous forests were common further north in Finland. The effects of the warmer climate period are still visible in the tree species of Niiniharju. In the past, the locals made ropes out of Tilia cordata to pay taxes to the Kingdom of Sweden, in which the area of Finland was a part.
Photo: Pasi Talvitie
Of course, the highlights of the trip include lunch. Pupils enjoyed the snacks provided by their own schools. In addition to that, 4-H provided delicious sausages by a campfire.
Photo: Terttu Hermansson
During the 4-H Forest Days, numerous schoolchildren in the Geopark and surrounding areas have got information about the Geopark and about forests and their values and use. At the Forest Days, young people have learned important things during a happy time spent together in nature and through practical activities. The 4-H Forest Days are a great opportunity for Geopark to pass on valuable information to young people in collaboration with partner organisations.
Photo: Anna-Kaisa Valaja
The Geopark has piloted environmental education measures at the 4-H Forest Days as part of rural-funded projects. Parkanon Säästöpankkisäätiö Foundation has supported the Geopark’s participation in the Forest Days. We are grateful for the good cooperation!
#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #geopark #globalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #finnishgeoparks #unesco #lauhanvuoriregion #outdoor #retkeily #luontomatkailu #hyvinvointialuonnosta #sdgs2030 #geoeducation
Text: Laura Koivumäki
Photo: Terttu Hermansson
Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Hämeenkangas
Last photo: Terttu Hermansson
We challenged the schools of our area to clean up the Geopark with us. Let’s pick up the rubbish together and make the Geopark tidy for summer.
In the spring, as the snow melts, debris from the roadsides, parking lots and elsewhere is exposed. Candy papers, beverage cans, cigarette butts, used face masks and a wide variety of other waste do not make the landscape more beautiful.
Together with the schoolchildren from Jämijärvi, we put the cleaning gloves in our hands and cleaned up the surroundings of the school for a while. The spring sun warmed up comfortably, and we were able to stay outdoors even without jackets.
The pickers were extremely efficient, and the garbage bags filled up quickly. At the end of the pick-up, we examined the catch in more detail. We also considered what harm the rubbish can make for the environment. The rubbish was thought to be dangerous for animals and garbage looks ugly as well.
We concluded that the best way to avoid the annoyances caused by garbage is to always put the garbage directly into the right kind of bin. Also, you should always try to avoid the formation of debris in advance.
Through the Geopark’s spring cleaning challenge (in Finnish), we celebrate the UN International Mother Earth Day on April 22nd. The day encourages us to live in harmony with nature so that future generations can do the same.
Let’s go out together, collect garbage from nearby nature and welcome spring. Please also share your photos on social media.
#lhgeopark #unescoglobalgeoparks #geopark #globalgeoparks #europeangeoparks #unesco #lauhanvuoregion # sdgs2030 #geoeducation #roskatongeopark #litterfreegeopark #kansainvälinenäitimaanpäivä #internationalmotherearthday
Text: Laura Koivumäki
Main photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Soininharju, Hämeenkangas
The last photo: Sofia Sillanpää, Katikankanjoni, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park
Other photos: Laura Koivumäki, Pasi Talvitie
Well-groomed trails and glowing snowy mires call you to ski in the Geopark. Due to the geological history, the area has also higher hills that collect more snowfall than the surrounding areas.
There are hundreds of miles of groomed trails in the Geopark. The magnificent trails of the pine forests of Hämeenkangas and Lauhanvuori National Park as well as the Pyhäniemi – Käskyvuori route in Kihniö are among the most popular ones, but there are also other great skiing opportunities in every municipality of the area. You can find trail maps and information on the condition of the trails in the links below. Some of the trails are also marked on Retkikartta online map service. In Jämi in Hämeenkangas, dog enthusiasts can ski on their own dog track (in Finnish).
Photo: Pasi Talvitie, Hämeenkangas
With long forest skis, handy skinbased skis or traditional snowshoes, you will create your own routes outside Geopark’s ready-made trails and find your new, most enchanting favorite places. Professional guides of our area will take you on nature adventures safely. You can find these activity providers in the Activities section of our website. You can also rent equipment for your own winter experiences. Read more on our winter article.
Photo: Ismo Nousiainen / Taikapolku, Hyyppä valley
The area has a long tradition of large skiing events. Pirkka Ski Race in Hämeenkangas is the oldest continuously organized mass skiing event in Finland, and Kauha-Hiihto and Lauhan hiihto events have brought skiers to Lauhanvuori for decades.
Photo: Pirkka Ski Race, Hämeenkangas
Pirkka Ski Race is organized yearly at early March from Niinisalo in Kankaanpää via Jämijärvi to Tampere. In addition to the full distance of 90 kilometers, it is also possible to ski shorter sections of the trip.
The actual Pirkka Ski Race will be organized on 6th of march, if possible. One week after this, Reppu-Pirkka, based on self-service, may possibly be arranged this year, despite the pandemic. Read more about the event on the organizer’s website.
Another large, traditional skiing event in the Geopark area is Kauha-Hiihto in the Lauhanvuori area in late February. The event will be arranged on 20th of February, if possible. Read more about the event on the organizer’s website (in Finnish).
In Isojoki, in the landscapes of Lauhanvuori, Lauhan hiihto skiing event has traditionally been organized.
Main photo: Pasi Talvitie, Kauhaneva-Pohjankangas National Park