The Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation acquired an area of about 24 hectares in the vicinity of Lake Lestijärvi in Ostrobothnia in the middle of February. Approximately 14 hectares of the area is made up of a forest with the remaining part consisting of a private water area. The conservation area will be named after the farm, which is called Petäjäranta.
Mr Olavi Sillanpää, a man living on the east side of the lake, did not like the idea of having his land turned into a building site or his forest exposed to cuttings, so he decided to have the section facing the lake placed under protection. He thought that the cuttings conducted in the neighbourhood had been too severe for a long time, and as soon as he had read a newspaper article about the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, he had made up his mind about contacting Mrs Anneli Jussila, the executive director of the foundation, offering part of his farm for the foundation to protect. Mr Pentti Linkola, the chairman of the foundation, visited the place in January together with the executive director, and it only took a while for them to reach an agreement in the matter.
The trees vary in age, the tree stand being mainly made up of full-grown spruces as well as some younger deciduous trees. What makes the place extraordinary is the group of gigantic old pine trees growing by the lake and elsewhere, the pines being both thick and incredibly tall. The largest one exceeds the legendary pines of the Pyhä-Häkki National Park in size.
What also makes the place valuable is the unbroken and unbuilt shore, which stretches for over a kilometre. The private water area – quite a curiosity – also contributes to the value from the perspective of nature conservation. We can see that there are some small forest-covered islets appearing off the shore as well.
The foundation co-operates with the Ostrobothnia nature conservation district, which raises funds for new conservation targets, especially when it comes to undrained swamps in the region. The help that came from the Ostrobothnia district was significant during the negotiations with Mr Sillanpää.
Petäjäranta is the 52nd conservation area of foundation and the fifth in the Ostrobothnia region.
Photo: Anneli Jussila.