Excavation and earthmoving that undermine nature values have increased in the outdoor recreation areas of Helsinki. Recently people have been excavating and forming ramps and routes for mountain bikers along the slope in the forest on the border of Viikki and Länsi-Herttoniemi. People have also dug up the ground and cut down bushes in the valuable nature area that features vegetation such as hazel shrubs.
“We are not looking to prevent people from mountain biking in the forests of Viikki or anywhere else, but we do want to remind people that activities that harm the environment are not covered by everyman’s rights – building your own ramps and modifying the existing trails is prohibited. The environment is sensitive and unable to withstand such wear,” explains Tree Specialist Juha Raisio from the City of Helsinki.
The natural areas and forests of Helsinki have plenty of visitors. Residents engaging in outdoor activities bear a major responsibility for the well-being of actively used outdoor recreation areas. Sometimes a single modification made to the terrain can cause significant and potentially irreversible damage.
“The area where people have recently excavated the terrain is located south of Hallainvuori, which is Helsinki’s newest nature reserve. In Hallainvuori, there have been instances of people cutting down trees to lay across paths, which is not allowed. There is a trail marked with blue diamond shapes running through Hallainvuori that is maintained and kept open. We recommend that visitors stay on the trail, as the sensitive rock environment of the area cannot withstand wear. The small hazel grove located in southern Hallainvuori is completely off limits” reminds Environmental Planner Hanna Seitapuro from the City of Helsinki.
Use existing paths and follow mountain biking etiquette
A new 16-kilometre mountain biking trail was completed this spring in the Central Park of Helsinki. For experienced mountain bikers, the trail features challenging rocky uphill and downhill sections marked with warning signs. The trail also has rocks and tree roots on the path, making it more challenging. The Central Park mountain biking trail can be used from the beginning of May to the end of November.
Biking is also allowed in the Sipoonkorpi National Park area. People visiting the area are requested to stay on the clearly discernible paths and take other people using the paths into consideration. Another mountain biking trail will be built in Nuuksio National Park in the future. The City of Helsinki and Metsähallitus are aiming to have mountain bikers stay on designated trails in sensitive natural areas.
Suomen Latu and Metsähallitus have collaborated with the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency to publish a renewed etiquette for mountain bikers. Please adhere to the following rules:
- The path is shared and the environment belongs to everyone. Be considerate towards all users.
- Use existing paths and trails. Avoid going around wetlands and slamming on the brakes to reduce wear.
- Familiarise yourself with the rules of the area and the trails and adhere to them.
- Remember your responsibilities. Do not litter or damage trees and saplings.
- Appropriate situational speed creates safety. Slow down when passing others and coming to crossings. Ring your bell or use your voice.
- Everyone is obligated to help if someone is injured. If necessary, use the 112 app or call for help.
More information about responsible outdoor activities and biking in Helsinki’s nature reserves is also provided at hel.fi/pysypolulla.
Report activities that damage the environment
If you detect any activities in nature areas that are harmful to the environment, please contact the City of Helsinki through our feedback channel. A photo or the coordinates of the location will help us locate the exact spot.