26.09.2008 - RMK to open a nature centre at Oandu in West-Viru County 05.10

Today, at 13.00, the State Forest Management Centre (RMK) will open a nature centre at Oandu, West-Viru County, where the focus will be on the introduction of forestry-related cultural heritage. The nature centre includes an outbuilding named the Cone Hut (Käbitare) and a large barn for displaying various exhibitions.

“The current building of the nature centre has respectable history,” said Tiina Neljandik, Head of Oandu Nature Centre. The home and office building of the chief forester of Sagadi Manor at Oandu was completed in 1860. During the time of the independent Republic of Estonia, state forest districts were established for managing forests; among these, the Sagadi forest district which was established in 1920 also started work and operated in the building until 1999.

Thus, forestry and forest works have been engaged in at Oandu for nearly 150 consecutive years. In the neighbouring forests, there is also a lot of forest related heritage culture worth introducing. “There are many examples: various cultures of non-native species, forest ranger spots, forest stands for specific use, ship building forests and, due to the activities of the Sagadi test forest district, there are interesting test cultures here as well,” Tiina Neljandik added.

In the main building of the RMK Oandu Nature Centre, the exhibition “A glimpse of the former forest district” will be opened today, where informative materials explain who was who in the forest district. Texts are supported by old photos that mainly reflect the life of the local forest district in the years 1920-1940. At the opening, slides that introduce cultural heritage sites and a photo programme that introduces former forestry works can be watched. The book “Pärandkultuur metsas. Oandu.”, issued in the heritage culture publication series of RMK, will also be presented.

In addition to the traces of the life and work of previous generations, contemporary every man’s right to opportunities in the state forest will also be introduced. Information will be provided on natural sites located close by in the state forest (hiking trails, campfire sites, camp sites, forest houses and forest huts) and additional information can be asked about hiking and nature study opportunities.

In the outbuildings of the nature centre, exhibitions have already been displayed and programmes introducing heritage culture organised since the beginning of 2007. For example, at the moment, it is possible to learn at the Cone Hut how in the old days, seeds of forest trees were collected, and work with the husking and winnowing machine tried out. In the barn of the nature centre, an exhibition “Trees and People” is open, at which the usages of our significant forest trees throughout time can be learned, firewood listed according to their calorific value, a pile sawn and measured, etc. In the barn, the vehicles of foresters throughout the time are displayed.

Oandu Nature Centre is located in the former building of the Sagadi forest district, built in 1860. In the past three years, the building has been fully renovated, with the works costing MEEK 5.5. The building was designed by architect Urmas Arike and works performed by OTO Ehitus.

RMK started mapping cultural heritage sites in 2004, at the Nõva recreational area. In the following years, the activity expanded to Harju, Järva, Lääne and Rapla Counties in the framework of the project “Protection and Implementation of Forestry Cultural Heritage”, funded by the European Union, and the publication “Väike pärandkultuuri käsiraamat” which introduced cultural heritage was completed. Inventory was performed independently of the ownership of land and the mapped sites can be viewed at the website of the Land Board at http://xgis.maaamet.ee. The cultural heritage on the state forest land and the history of forestry are introduced with the exhibitions of the nature centres of RMK, via nature education programmes and at events.

RMK has established 720 km of hiking trails, 42 camping sites and 499 campfire sites in the state forest. It is possible to stop at 24 forest houses or forest huts. RMK offers nature education activities at 11 nature centres and the Sagadi Forest Centre. As of 1 July 2008, the Elistvere Animal Park is managed by RMK. 2007. In 2007, the state forest was visited 820 000 times for the purposes of forest recreation.

RMK is a profit-making state agency established under the Forestry Act, aimed at sustainable and efficient management of the state forest. In addition to this, RMK creates possibilities for forest holidays and shapes nature awareness. RMK maintains nearly 40% of Estonia’s forests.

Additional information:
Tiina Neljandik
Head of the RMK Oandu Nature Centre
Telephone +372 509 9397
RMK Oandu Nature Centre is open on weekdays at 11.00 – 16.00