Karttapohja: Kaupunkimittausosasto, Helsinki 2002
Kuva: Roy Koto/ Viherosasto
Kuva: Paula H’nninen / Viherosasto

Kuva: Roy Koto/ Viherosasto
Kuva: Tuulikki Rautio
Ilmakuva: Kaupunkimittausosasto, Helsinki 2002
Kuva: Vesa Koskela/ Ymp’ristİkeskus
Kuva: Heikki Willamo
Kuva: Heikki Willamo
Kuva: Henri Oksanen/Ymp’ristİkeskus

      - Close to the Forest,
        Nature in the City

Traversing Helsinki from south to north, the Central Park of Helsinki offers excellent opportunities for outdoor sports and recreation. Nature in the Central Park is varied, with many different types of terrain and species of birds and mammals. The Central Park begins in the south at Töölönlahti Bay in the middle of the city and ends in Haltiala and the River Vantaa on the northern border of Helsinki. Covering a thousand hectares, the Central Park is ten kilometres in length and an excellent representative of the rich and varied nature in the southern coastal area.

In the Central Park, you can feel the rhythm of the seasons, with their changing colours, light, and smells. It is a place where people go for an outing, play, do fitness training or sports, tend their allotment gardens, study nature, and just relax. Many city inhabitants go through the park daily on their way to work.

There are four nature protection areas in the northern part of the park: Pitkäkoski deciduous forest, Haltiala primeval forest, Niskala arboretum, and Ruutinkoski deciduous forest. The forest in Ruutinkoski is protected under the national programme for the conservation of herb-rich forests. The protection of the new Vantaanjoentörmä nature conservation area is pending. The Central Park is at its widest in Haltiala, where the vegetation in the protected area is a luxuriant, untouched primeval forest. Haltiala currently has the largest and most cohesive forests in Helsinki.

Mammals living in the Central Park include elk, badger, fox, arctic hare, brown hare, weasel, raccoon dog, and muskrat. In the nesting season the forests are filled with birdsong. Bird species nesting in the park include black woodpecker, goldcrest, Eurasian jay, tits, dunnock, garden warbler, wood warbler, and red-breasted flycatcher.

In 2014 the Central Park turned 100. The Helsinki City Council approved a plan by architect Bertel Jung for the Helsinki Central Park in 1914.