On Wednesday morning we started from Ylitornio municipality, near Aavasaksa, the first field trip of the Original Lapland tourism development project. The theme of this field trip was hunting and fishing services and companies related to tourism. The 23-seated bus was full to the last place and right from the start you could hear everyone busy talking and networking with each others. Language used changed smoothly from finnish to english and at times to swedish, and if it felt necessary, even to sign language.
Quite soon we stopped to pick up some water – and not just any water, but locally produced, purest water from Finnish Lapland – VEEN Waters Ltd. This company aims to make their products more prominent and sell them to Lapland’s travel destinations. www.veenwaters.com
Our first destination was the shooting sports center maintained by a local hunting club called Jupon Erä in Pessalompolo. There Mr. Sulo Pajuniemi and Mr. Veikko Piuva took us first to experience the reel shooting. One of our participants, Mr. Robert Hawkins from company called Lapland´s Nature Experience, also got to try the shooting and was actually very good at it. The center offers great possibilities for shooting training and organizing events, camps and competitions. The Jupon Erä hunting club also offers guided shooting with the club’s weapons and a chance to participate into actual moose hunting trips. www.juponera.info/
Next we headed to a village called Meltosjärvi, where the village association has built an old forestry cabin. With the help of Mr. Erkki Kumpula and Mrs. Aira Kariniemi we got to know the old-fashioned lifestyle back in the days when forest industry in Finland was maintained mostly by manpower. Savottapiha’s opening ceremony was held on this summer and is now being developed for various uses, such as tourism purposes. The courtyard also has a sauna and a lean-on hut. Savottapiha´s facilities can be rented from the Meltosjärvi Village Association, email@example.com
Everybody was quite hungry at this point and headed for lunch at Loma-Vietonen by the Lake Vietonen, where Mrs. Tuija Kariniemi-Saukkoriipi was already welcoming us. Tuija gave us a very nice tour around the premices; a kota restaurant, lakeside sauna and a beach terrace, from which you can enjoy spectacular views of Lake Vietonen. Lunch in the main building was sure for everyone´s taste and we would have enjoyed the home-like, cozy feeling of the dining room even longer, but we had to continue the journey. www.lomavietonen.com
Fortunately it wasn´t a long way to the next company called Napapiirin Järvilomat (freely translated “the lakeside holidays in the Arctic Circle”). They are located on the same Lake Vietonen but a bit further on, in Luukonniemi. We spent an atmospheric and comfortable talk with Mrs. Kaisa Koivisto and Ms. Paula Mäkiniemi in the hut around the campfire. Also from here, we did not have to leave without some tastings – their own berry juice and local speciality savours called “kampanisu” (cookie shaped as a comb, there are salty and sweet variations of it)! www.napapiirinjarvilomat.fi
On the shore of Lake Miekojärvi the next stop was Miekojärvi Resort in Sirkkakoski village. We were hosted by Mr. Jari Kuosmanen, owner of the resort, and Mr. Jouko Sirkkala, a professional fisherman of Lapland Wild Fish. They served us a tasteful variety of lakefish appetizers and of course, Jouko told us a lot fishing stories. He also presented with a video and pictures how beautiful and how rich in different fish species Lake Miekojärvi is. www.laplandwildfish.fi www.miekojarvenresort.fi
Last but not least, we headed to a small restaurant called Ravinteli Nälkäinen Hauki (“Hungry Pike”) for afternoon coffee and sandwiches. Entrepreneurs Mr. Marko Salonen and Mrs. Sari Salonen shared their story about their idyllic little restaurant with us. The place is open all year round but only on Fridays 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. In addition, they provide catering services around Lapland area and also operate the local Lohijärvi Village Shop, which also provides gasoline. www.lohijarvi.fi
On the way back to Aavasaksa, Mr. Kari Järvinen (www.kj-experience.com) told us about his nature activity programs and services and also the brand new 160 km long Midnight Sun Canoeing route through the municipalities of Kolari, Pello and Ylitornio. Iina told also with couple of words about the other fishing and hunting services operating companies in the area that we did not get to see this time (Hunting Farm of Ainola www.ainola.net , Wilderness Center of Lake Lohijärvi www.aavasaksa.fi/majoitus/mokit-ja-leirintaalueet/lohijarven-erakeskus/ as well as Naamisuvanto www.tornioriver.fi )
During the trip we had a very lively conversations about reviving of the fish and bird species, the challenges related into fishing and hunting tourism and also the possibilities for cooperation.