There is an annual boating event in the Bothnian Bay national park known as Sarvipäivät. This year Metsäahallitus organized a week-long archipelago event, Saaristopäivät, instead. The week 25.6-1.7.2018 we celebrated the archipelago life, the national park, recreational boating and all things marine in the Northern Bothnian Bay.
SEAmBOTH registered the event as a European Maritime Day, and the week included the project’s group member’s field excursion and the Dive Perämeri event as well. All of the activities took place in the SEAmBOTH project pilot area in the Finnish side of the border.
Historically the Northern Bothnian Bay has been open to only those with access to their own or their friend’s boats. In the past couple of years, some taxi boat services as well as some charter boats have started to roam the twin parks area of Haparanda Skärgårds National Park and Bothnian Bay National Park.
During the week, charter boats brought people to the national park every day. On Saturday, a traditional sailing ship brought almost 40 passengers. There was a pop up restaurant on one of the islands, guided tours in an old fishing shelter in the tiny fishing museum on another island and guided walks on the nature trail to the Southern tip of Selkä-Sarvi island.
Metsähallitus’s SEAmBOTH team talked with the people coming to the national park, many of whom were visiting the national park for the first time. It always surprises me how little many people know about underwater nature, but at the same time, how interested they are to learn about it. Many were shocked to learn that Finnish and Swedish environmental authorities have so little common data to work on, despite the fact that the border of the two countries lies in the middle of the sea, and the water moves around throughout both countries.
We were also able to help a gentleman whose hobby was to “collect” vascular plants. He knew that there were a lot of underwater plant species, which he hadn’t seen before, in the Bothnian Bay National Park. He was quite happy to use water binoculars and write a few new names of underwater species to his little notebook.
The event was successful, and even some SEAmBOTH sponsors visited with one of the charter boats. In the beginning of the event, we had one cubic meter blue European Maritime Day canvas bags to give to visitors, courtesy of the European Union. After we had given them to all visitors, we had hardly any left. At the same time, a lot of information about the project was distributed to the regional and national stakeholders and residents.
Written by Essi Keskinen, Metsähallitus