Record number of visits made to RMK’s recreational and protected areas last year 01.02

During 2016, RMK’s recreational and protected areas were visited 2.3 million times, which is 100,000 more visits than a year earlier. The most popular recreational areas are in the surroundings of Tallinn and Nõva; among national parks, Lahemaa and Soomaa are visited the most.

According to Marge Rammo, Head of RMK Nature Management Department, the growth in the number of forest visits last year was attributable to somewhat worse beach weather and an excellent mushroom season. “The weather may not have favoured a beach vacation, but was perfect for discovering nature trails and picking mushrooms and berries,” said Rammo. “Last year, the number of visits went up most in Haanja and Karula, in the Aegviidu and Kõrvemaa region and in the surroundings of Tartu and Jõgeva.” 

Across Estonia, RMK has built more than 200 hiking trails, among which the most popular are the Taevaskoda hiking trail in Põlva County (59,152 visits last year), Rannametsa-Tolkuse nature study trail (45,399 visits), Viru bog study trail (37,135 visits) and Riisa study trail in Soomaa (25,973 visits). In addition, the popularity of the newly-renovated Männikjärve bog study trail in Jõgeva County has been increasing. 

Slightly more than 85,900 people visited RMK information points in 2016. Almost half of the visitors were foreigners and the interest has been growing mainly for information points located in national parks. 

According to a visitor survey held by RMK on a regular basis, 25-44 year olds enjoy resting in nature the most, with women slightly outnumbering men. 85% of visitors feel that being in nature increases their social, mental and physical wellbeing. By duration, visitors of recreational and protected areas are divided fairly evenly – 52% are daytime visitors and 48% are overnight visitors. Almost half of visitors spend an average of EUR 59 in connection with their visit - this money is spent in the accommodation and catering establishments, grocery stores and petrol stations in the region. 

RMK offers hiking opportunities in 13 recreational areas, 5 national parks and on reserves all over Estonia. A total of 309 sheltered campfire sites, 214 hiking trails, 59 camping sites, 28 forest huts, 19 forest cabins and four off-road sites have been built. Two branches of RMK’s long hiking trail offer hiking possibilities across almost 1200 km: Oandu-Aegviidu-Ikla (375 km) and Peraküla-Aegviidu-Ähijärve (820 km). Recreational possibilities are offered on the principle of everyman’s right – the state forest belongs to us all and can be visited by anyone who knows how to behave there. 

RMK is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Republic of Estonia. RMK earns a profit for the state through forest management, growing reforestation material, and organising forest and nature protection works. In addition, RMK establishes opportunities for nature walking and shapes nature awareness. RMK consists of the Sagadi Forest Centre, the Elistvere Animal Park, the Põlula Fish Farm, and the Tartu Tree Nursery. More than 700 people work for RMK; however, the total number of people employed in the state forest is 5000. 

Further information:
Marge Rammo
Head of RMK Nature Management Department
Tel: 676 7530, 513 7035