Rokua Une­sco Glo­ba­la Geo­park i Fin­land har bli­vit nomi­ne­rad som Årets utfärds­mål i Fin­land 2018. Vesa Krök­ki, som är chef för geo­par­ken, berät­tar mer:

Rokua Geo­park has been nomi­na­ted as the Fin­nish out­do­or des­ti­na­tion of the year 2018, con­gra­tu­la­tions! What makes Rokua Geo­park a gre­at des­ti­na­tion for out­do­or life?

The Geo­park offers pos­si­bi­li­ti­es for out­do­or adven­tu­res in both sum­mer and win­ter sea­sons. We have an exten­si­ve network of hiking, biking, ski­ing and kay­a­king trails. The regi­on also offers loads of ser­vices that are are easy to find for the visi­tors: accom­mo­da­tion, food and gui­ding ser­vices. The Geo­parks uni­que nort­hern envi­ron­ment is a per­fect pla­ce for a relax­ed holi­day or for a bit more adven­tu­rous one.

How do you think geo­lo­gy and out­do­or acti­vi­ti­es are connected?

Geo­lo­gy forms the base for the acti­vi­ti­es. Our ice age lands­cape with eskers, dunes and kett­le-holes makes the out­do­ors expe­ri­ence more chal­lenging and inte­re­s­ting for the hikers, mountain bikers and ski­i­ers. Oulu regi­on in Fin­land is other­wi­se flat, but the Geo­park with its uni­que land­forms is a much more diver­si­fi­ed pla­ce. The rolling hills of Rokua area is a beau­ti­ful lands­cape. Also the way we open and explain the birth of the area gives added value for the visitors.

Rokua Geo­park has been a Geo­park sin­ce 2010, and a UNE­SCO Glo­bal Geo­park sin­ce 2015. As the mana­ger of the geo­park, what pos­si­bi­li­ti­es do you think this inter­na­tio­nal sta­tus has brought to the region?

The Geo­park sta­tus is a way to dis­tin­gu­ish our­sel­ves form other Fin­nish out­do­or des­ti­na­tions. Fin­land has 40 natio­nal parks, but only one UNE­SCO Glo­bal Geo­park. We also have a natio­nal park insi­de the Geo­park but it has been rela­ti­vely unk­nown. In Fin­land, like in Swe­den too I guess, the big well known natio­nal parks gat­her most of the atten­tion and the­se smal­ler ones not so much.

The sta­tus is also impor­tant for us as we are wor­king with peop­le coming from abro­ad. The UNE­SCO sta­tus is seen as a pro­mi­se of good qua­li­ty and of somet­hing that is not ordi­na­ry. It has hel­ped us to get more deve­lo­ping money to the area, as it is now recog­ni­zed as a natio­nal­ly and regi­o­nal­ly impor­tant site.

So the sta­tus works in many ways by enhan­ci­ng the live­li­hood of the area. One impor­tant thing is that it gives the local peop­le a sen­se of pri­de of their area, we can see this alre­a­dy now espe­ci­al­ly wor­king with the schools.

If I come to Rokua Geo­park as a visi­tor – what are your top three tips to best enjoy the out­do­or life?

You should start your trip to Rokua Geo­park from our Visi­tor Cent­re Sup­pa, from whe­re you’ll get the maps and advice to your holi­day. The visi­tor cent­re has a per­ma­nent exhi­bi­tion, a small café and it also rents out­do­or gear such as mountain bikes and snows­ho­es. Befo­re hea­ding out you should also uplo­ad our free Rokua Geo­park 3D mobi­le app from which you can get a lot of infor­ma­tion of the regi­ons sights and services.

Next I’d recom­mend you to go and explo­re the Rokua Esker and Dune area whe­re you can see the tra­ces of the last ice age but also enjoy a very spe­ci­al part of Fin­lands natu­re. Rokua is spe­ci­al with its lichen heat­hs, pine forests and small kett­le hole ponds. In Rokua we also have the well main­tai­ned Rokua natio­nal park with its rou­tes for ski­ing, hiking and mountain biking.

Cano­e­ing and kay­a­king is also a popu­lar way to explo­re the regi­on. You can do the­se acti­vi­ti­es eit­her in the rivers or the nume­rous lakes of the area. Cano­es and kay­aks can be ren­ted from our com­pa­ni­es to the Lake Oulu­jär­vi and to the River Oulu­jo­ki. On lake Oulu­jär­vi you can kay­ak to the small islands that form the Oulu­jär­vi hiking area. In the hiking area we have seve­ral lean to shel­ters and fire pla­ces. You can also stay over in a tent and expe­ri­ence a bit of wilderness.