In February 2016, the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation made a deal about an area of 24 hectares in the east side of Lake Lestijärvi in Ostrobothnia. Half of the area consists of a forest, the other half being made up of a private water area.
The forest is mainly lying in its natural state, and the tree stand varies in age and also on the basis of the species it contains – ranging from full-grown spruces to younger deciduous trees and some mixed forest as well.
Close to the stony ground of a couple of hectares on the ancient shore and elsewhere, the forest looks quite simply divine with its gigantic old pine trees. The largest one exceeds the legendary pines of the Pyhä-Häkki National Park in size. There are also some wrinkled birches spending the days of their old age in the shade of these pine trees, whose strength has been repeatedly tested in the course of over two centuries by the mighty winds that blow through the forest.
The area includes a kilometre of the unbroken and unbuilt shore as well as the private water area of 12 hectares – quite a curiosity. There are also some small forest-covered islets appearing off the shore.
This forest, which is labelled by the ancient pine trees, was sold to the foundation by Mr Olavi Sillanpää, a man living on the east side of the lake. Instead of having his land turned into a building site of new summer cottages or his forest exposed to cuttings, he decided to have part of his land placed under protection. He had been feeling sorry for the neighbourhood forests for a long time because they had been exposed to cuttings that he considered way too heavy, and then one day, he found a newspaper article about the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation. He contacted us, and we made sure that his precious forest by the lake was placed under our protection.
Petäjäranta is the 52nd conservation area of foundation and the fifth in the Ostrobothnia region.