Saimaa is an Eastern Finland treasure. Saimaa is known for its beautiful landscapes, distinctive cities and lovely villages. Saimaa has unique geological, archaeological and cultural attractions waiting for visitors.
Saimaa Geopark, which is being planned in southern Saimaa, will show off Saimaa and its attractions. It will open up the story of the geology, nature and human life of the vast lake basin in a brand new way.
The Geopark will create a sustainable framework for developing nature tourism in South Saimaa
Developing sustainable tourism and local entrepreneurship is more important than ever, as interest in nature tourism in Saimaa is growing. Increasing public recognition of southern Saimaa is also needed to boost the economy of the entire region. It is hoped that geological tourism will help, and a lasting framework for devolving nature tourism in southern Saimaa can be created with the help of the international Geopark operations model. The aim is to establish Saimaa Geopark in the regions of South Karelia and South Savo.
Saimaa Geopark Project Preparation Phase
The Saimaa Geopark Project Preparation Phase, which is currently in progress, aims to gather information on geological attractions in southern Saimaa and the geological history of the lake basin. The project gathers new information for developing nature and adventure tourism. Through the project, agents in the South Saimaa region will collaborate to build a sustainable geotourism framework which includes persistent and systematic development and quality control. These are some of the criteria for becoming a member of the European Geopark network. An application to join the network will be prepared as part of the project.
Realisers of the Saimaa Geopark Project Preparation Phase
The Saimaa Geopark Project Preparation Phase is funded by the regional councils of South Karelia and South Savo, the cities of Imatra, Lappeenranta and Mikkeli, and the municipalities of Juva, Puumala, Ruokolahti, Savitaipale, Sulkava and Taipalsaari.
The Geological Survey of Finland (GTK) helps carry out the project and is responsible for geological research. The project is led by the Imatra Region Development Company Ltd. The South Karelia Foundation for Recreation Areas and the Saimaa Association for Recreation Areas work as partners. The project will run until 2017.