Everyone’s rights
Everyone’s rights

Everyone’s rights

With rights come responsibilities.

In Finland and Sweden, there are the broadest everyone’s rights in the world. In the forests, one can move freely under their own power – this means by walking, cycling, or skiing – regardless of who owns the forest. Gathering mushrooms and berries, as well as bait fishing and ice fishing, is also allowed – as is camping and swimming. However, permission from the landowner is always required for making fires. Fallen trees or their parts cannot be taken.

In national parks, everyman’s rights are slightly restricted, and there are usually restrictions on camping, for example. Unlike in many other countries, it’s generally allowed to move outside marked trails in national parks – under one’s own power. Motor vehicles are not allowed in national park areas, and horseback riding, cycling, and dog sledding are usually only allowed on designated routes for these purposes. Bait or ice fishing freely is also not allowed in national park areas.

With rights come responsibilities. While in the forests, one must not disturb others – this includes both other forest visitors and forest animals. It’s especially important to consider the nesting peace of birds. Reindeer and game animals must not be disturbed – for example, dogs must be kept on a leash between March 1 and August 19, when game animals have offspring. In national parks and other nature reserves, dogs must always be kept on a leash.

Nature photographers also need to remember their responsibilities. This includes, among other things, not spreading the location information of an interesting subject when discovered. Large groups of photographers can be harmful and disruptive to the subject. The subject being photographed must not be disturbed, and its behavior must not be influenced in hopes of getting a better picture. The best pictures are obtained when one has taken the time to familiarize themselves with the behavior of the subject in advance and is patient, calm, and quiet during the photography session.

Nature must be protected to preserve its diversity for future generations.

Read more about everyone’s rights in Finnish National Parks.