Finland's forests, lakes and rivers present incomparable surroundings in which to relax and enjoy the fresh air and unspoiled natural environment. Thanks to the concept of ‘Everyman's Rights’, there is far greater freedom to roam freely in Finland than in most other countries. This freedom, however, implies a responsibility on behalf of the visitor; not least the responsibility to remember that nature is very fragile and takes a long time to recover from misuse.
Everyman’s Rights are a concept that has evolved over the centuries, an unwritten code of practice born out of the customs and experience of a sparse population living in a vast, densely forested country. Basically it entitles Finns to go where they please in the countryside - on land or on water - as long as they don't intrude on people's privacy, cause nuisance or damage, or leave litter... and believe it or not, IT WORKS!
Everyman's right in brief
- walk, ski or cycle freely in the countryside, except in gardens, in the immediate vicinity of people’s homes, and in fields and plantations which could easily be damaged
- stay or set up camp temporarily in the countryside, a reasonable distance from homes (for camp fire you have to have land owner’s permission!)
- pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as they are not protected species
- fish with a rod and line
- row, sail or use a motorboat on waterways, with certain restrictions; swim or wash in inland waters and the sea
- walk, ski and fish on frozen lakes, rivers and the sea
What you think, folks, could Americans handle this, or would we abuse it?