The cooperation area was established in 2020 by an agreement between Metsähallitus and the managemen authority of Reisa National Park and Ráisduottarháld Landscape Protection Area. The co-operation also covers the functional connections of the protected areas in the surrounding area to Kilpisjärvi, Kaivuono/Kåfjord, Storslett in the outlet of Reisadalen valley and Kautokeino.
The purpose of cooperation is to protect the natural and cultural values of the area and to ensure its sustainable use. The co-operation agreement does not change the regulations of the nature reserves and the co-operation follows the official management and use plans of the areas. The co-operation is organized according to the model of the European National Parks Association Europarc. The Halti cooperation area has applied for Europarc’s Border Park Cooperation Certificate and membership in the TransParcNet network of European border parks.
The film gives you an insight of what the Háldi Area has to offer in terms of natural values and nature experiences.
The film was produced by Montevideo.
The co-operation between Finnish and Norwegian protected areas in the Halti area has received official approval. Halti's co-operation area includes the Käsivarsi wilderness area in Finland and Reisa National Park in Norway, as well as the Ráisduottarháld landscape protection area. The co-operation that has started well in a development project (2018-2021) has now been formally approved as part of the extensive EUROPARC Transboundary Park program. There are twelve areas of cross-border cooperation in Europe. The region is third for Finland and second for Norway.
The Halti co-operation area creates a formal framework for co-operative actors to co-operate, set common goals, protect the natural and cultural heritage and develop local communities. The activities are guided by a joint steering group of employees in the protected areas, in addition to an group for other interest of the area, which anyone interested in the development of the area can participate in.
In Finland, protected areas are managed by Metsähallitus, while in Norway, extensive protected areas are managed by local national park boards. The boundaries, legislation and management of the protected areas in the Háldi Transboundary Area remain country-specific and unchanged.
The first year of cooperation begins
A common strategy has been created for Halti’s cooperation area. The main themes are the protection of the natural, landscape and cultural heritage. Nature education and communication, research, species inventories and monitoring, as well as cross-border understanding and the involvement of local communities are also included in the strategy.
The practical operation of Halti’s co-operation area is guided by an action plan. For the current year, there are plans to pilot “Halti Week”, during which locals and tourists will have the opportunity to take part in information tours and guided tours of the area. Halti Week aims to provide cross-border events and information on local nature, culture and communities. There are also plans to publish information about Halti’s area of cooperation digitally or in the form of a brochure.
The pandemic has slowed the start of co-operation on cross-border visits, but the steering group has gained momentum remotely. Kilpisijärvi Nature Center is displaying a new cross-border map produced in the project, as well as a display terminal with a lot of information about the Halti area from both the Finnish and Norwegian sides.
There are several ways to get into the Háldi Transboundary Cooperation area and there are some recommended entrance points connected to marked trails and recreational infrastructure.
Each place leads you to different nature experiences and different nature types. The preferred entrance point depends on where you are traveling from, what experiences you are looking for and how much time you have available.
The recommended entrance points for Háldi transboundary area are the same as for Reisa National Park which can be found here.
The highest point in Finland, Háldičohkka 1324 m, is located on the Norwegian border as part of the joint mountain range Háldi.
On the norwegian side the mountain is called Ráisduottarháldi and is slightly higher, 1361 m asl. The border divides themountain range and the surrounding Halti region between Norway and Finland. This Arctic region of continental Europe is a vast landscape area devoid of roads and permanent settlement. It have always been important as living area and hunting grounds of the local people. The areas on both sides of the border is of big importanse of sami reindeer husbandry.
The area of Halti is scenically divided into three main types: rocky great fells, mountain plateau covered by little or no vegetation and spots of mountain birch, and river valleys. Natural waters play an important role in the area’s nature. On the Finnish side, the waters flow through the Tornio – Muonionjoki River into the Gulf of Bothnia and in Norway from the mountains into the Arctic Ocean. The national border runs along the watershed. A large number of endangered species occur in the area. Such are the species that require calcareous bedrock that survive in the Arctic climate. This unique nature is threatened by human activity and climate change.
The Halti area is a major nature tourism destination. In Finland for several decades, in Norway of more recent date.
The border is easy to cross both off-road and by road. In Finland, people have traditionally hiked from Kilpisjärvi to Halti or fished on mountain lakes and rivers. The most popular places to visit are in the vicinity of Lake Kilpisjärvi: the common border laundry of Finland, Sweden and Norway can be reached by boat and hiking and on a staggered route over Saana.
The most famous destinations in Norway are salmon fishing or a boat trip to Mollisfossen Falls on Reisajoki, via Kaivuono to the top of Halti or the bridge over one of the deepest gorges in Europe to Gorsabro or the Norwegian Sámi center to Kautokeino. These destinations are all easily accessible from the road around the Halti area. The Kalott Route, which is part of the E1 long-distance hiking route throughout Europe, runs through the entire area. The route can be reached from Kilpisjärvi, Kaivuono’s Guolasjärvi, Reisajokivarri Ovi Raishiin starting point, Reisajärvi or the end point of the route from Kautokeino. (photos) The route continues south to the border laundry of the Three Kingdoms and from there on the Norwegian-Swedish border to Lake Tisko in Abisko.
Although the border between Finland and Norway has been in its current position since 1734, it has always been crossed quite freely. The most important unifying factor is Sámi culture and reindeer husbandry.
The annual migration of reindeer between inland winter pastures and summer pastures on the Arctic coast continued until 1852. At that time, the border agreement between Norway and Russia prohibited crossing the border, which caused major changes in reindeer husbandry and Sámi culture. Even in the country, reindeer husbandry, which is divided by the border, is still an important industry and the cultural basis of Sami culture and language. There has been trade along the major rivers between the coast and the hinterland. Years of famine were people fled from Finland to the Norwegian coast, where a Finnish-speaking Kven minority culture emerged.
Finland, Sweden and Norway share common values and history, which is reflected in everyone’s rights in the use of the regions. The most significant of these is the right to move off-road with muscle power, with the exception of some nature reserves. Especially on the Finnish side, the Halti area has been a significant hiking area since the beginning of the 20th century. In recent decades, tourism has grown into an important industry throughout the region. Although Finland belongs to the EU and Norway to NATO, the border is still free to be crossed with certain restrictions within the framework of the Schengen Agreement.
Kilpisjärvi Nature Center and Halti National Park Center in Storslett provide visitors with up-to-date information locally and online.
Both centers are interesting places to visit with exhibitions, information, posters, and maps. Halti visitor center is also a center for Kven culture and has a museum. The interactive Infokiosk service of the nature centres offers an opportunity to get acquainted with the natural and cultural experiences and services of the Háldi region.
Crossing the border in nature is possible because the right of access in Finland, Norway and Sweden are largely the same. However, there are some exceptions such as when moving with animals or mountain bikes. The hiker should familiarize themselves with the regulations and guidelines in the different countries and nature reserves when planning to cross the border. The weather and the reindeer migration in the area should also be considered when planning a hike.
The Háldi transboundary cooperation area was established through the HALTI - Cross-border cooperation area project in 2018-2020.
The partners in the Interreg North project were Metsähallitus (Natural Resources Center), the management authority of Reisa National Park and Ráisduottarháldi Landscape Protection Area, Halti National Park center, the Municipality of Kaivuono and the University of Tromsø. The project was funded by the Provincial Government of Norrbotten (EU funding), the Federation of Lapland and the Provincial Governments of Tromsø and Finnmark.