Forest recreation options provided by RMK were used 2.6 million times last year 03.03
Visitor interest in visiting options to recreational areas and protected areas provided by the State Forest Management Centre, as well as the events organised in them, continues to grow.‘It is a pleasure to see that so many people prefer to spend their holiday in Estonia, instead of going abroad, which is a very environment and climate friendly thing to do. People’s high level of interest in hiking around in domestic nature is also indicated by the fact that the loodusegakoos.ee website was used last year by about half a million users, resulting in more than 5.1 million page views. Moreover, the mobile app for moving about in nature, which was completed around Midsummer Day, also quickly found many users, being used by about 40,000 users last year, who viewed about a million page’, said Marge Rammo, Head of RMK’s Visitor Management Department.
The most visited recreational areas last year were the Northern Shore of Lake Peipus Recreation Area (including Oru Park, a total of 294,900 visits), the recreational area near Tallinn (including Keila-Joa Park, a total of 237,600 visits) and the Nõva Recreational Area (a total of 221,100 visits).
The most popular protected areas were Lahemaa National Park (228,200 visits) and Soomaa National Park (99,100 visits), in which the number of visits increased even more in comparison with the previous year. The Viru Bog educational trail continued to be popular among the people (48,200 visits) and the same goes for the Taevaskoja hiking trail (59,400 visits) and the Rannametsa-Tolkuse educational trail (36,400 visits).
Last year, visitor management activities cost a total of EUR 6.5 million (in 2018, 6.4 million), used, for instance, to ensure the infrastructure maintenance of RMK recreational areas and protected areas, maintaining the condition of the landscape, directing visits and organising activities in visitor centres that would improve nature awareness.
Special emphasis was placed on improving the opportunities for moving about in nature. For example, the architecturally impressive Valgesoo lookout tower in Põlva County, as well as the Kabli nature study trail for bird lovers in Pärnu County, the Selli-Sillaotsa educational swamp trail at the Alam-Pedja Conservation Area, the Altja educational trail’s wooden footbridge at Lahemaa, and 10 camp fire site objects at the Karula National Park were all completed. Works in different stages shall continue this year on 13 objects.
In 2019, 1997 nature awareness improvement programmes were organised in RMK’s 15 visitor centres, the Sagadi Forest Museum, Elistvere Animal Park and three nature houses with a total of 49,417 participants. About 300,000 participants took part in different educational, hiking and information days.
RMK, or the State Forest Management Centre, takes care of around 30% of the total land area of Estonia, where 47% of Estonia’s forests are located. RMK is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Estonian state. RMK cultivates forests, preserves natural treasures, earns income for the state by managing the forest, creates opportunities for visiting nature, and provides nature education.
Head of RMK’s Visitor Management Department