Nature holiday possibilities offered by RMK were used a record 2.7 million times last year 14.02
Opportunities to move about within various recreational and protected areas provided by the State Forest Management Centre were used a record 2.7 million times last year, which is 300,000 more than the year before.
According to Marge Rammo, Head of RMK’s Visitor Management Department, an increase in visitors of this magnitude is unconventional, with around 100,000 new visitors typically being added from year to year.
"People were brought to nature by the beautiful summer, the anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and events related to the celebration – the series of anniversary hikes, but also, for example, the first time celebration of Estonian Nature Day in August of last year. The completion of the third branch of the RMK hiking trail and the grand joint hike definitely provided a specific contribution," said Rammo.
In connection with the grand events, RMK placed a great deal of emphasis on improving opportunities to move about in nature. In 2018, work took place on a total of 36 objects, with 14 being completed. Entirely new objects – stopping points and campfire sites – were added along the Penijõe – Aegviidu – Kauksi branch, while a number of objects under reconstruction were also completed, which all offer excellent opportunities for resting and learning about nature. These include the Selisoo and Kurtna hiking trails along with campfire sites, the Emajõe, Luhasoo and Riisa educational trails, Pühajärve and Murrumetsa nature trails, the Seljamäe educational hiking trail along with campfire site, the wolf yard at the Elistvere animal park, and the Riisa, Majakivi and Iisaku observation towers.
Also completed in full, was the hiking trail network comprised of three branches covering the Estonian mainland, which covers more than 1800 kilometres from Peraküla to Ähijärve, Penijõe to Kauksi, and Oandu to Iklass, and is marked with 100 forest and cultural facts.
The joint Finnish-Estonian project Lights On! came to an end, within the framework of which reconstruction works took place in Keila-Joa Park, on the Neeruti Hill Fort and the Lõhavere and Varbola castles. Within the framework of the project, views from historic tourist attractions were opened up and accessibility was improved, in order to offer visitors the best experience and to develop new tourism products and services in cooperation with local entrepreneurs.
A total of 2000 programmes for implementing awareness and the preservation of nature were organised by RMK, with nearly 43,000 interested parties taking part. A total of 270,000 people participated in information, learning and camping days and theme nights. RMK’s information points across Estonia shared information and advice on forest holidays and possibilities for moving about in nature on 96,000 occasions.
In order to promote moving about in nature and nature education, a total of EUR 6.4 million was spent in 2018, of which EUR 1.6 million was covered through fees earnt from various recreation economy activities and targeted financing by the European Union.
RMK, or the State Forest Management Centre, takes care of around 30% of the total land area of Estonia, where 47% of Estonia’s forests are located. RMK is the keeper, protector and manager of the forest and other natural biotic communities belonging to the Estonian state. RMK cultivates forests, preserves natural treasures, earns income for the state by managing the forest, creates opportunities for visiting nature, and provides nature education.