Eco-tourism in the Soomaa National Park of Estonia
The Soomaa National Park is an area without human development
A reserve is an area, which is typically managed by the state or a private organisation, to benefit the riches of nature. For the local human community, there may be constraints on using the land, unless it is relatively unsuited for development. Even so, the help of the local community is often needed, at least to respect constraints and perhaps also to help manage the reserve. In order for the community to support the reserve, best practice involves finding new benefit to the community.
Reserves can create benefits through eco-tourism. Guest-houses and hotels may be needed nearby. Visitor centres to provide food and information can create jobs. However, tourism needs careful management if the increased number of people is not itself to become a problem through erosion or disturbance.
Canoeing enables quiet enjoyment without pollution
Soomaa means “marsh-land” in Estonian. The Soomaa National Park is a leading example of best practice not only because there are so many ways for tourists to enjoy the beautiful area, for example with canoes in summer or hire of kick-sledges in winter, but also through creating a local support network, the “Friends of Soomaa”. This network both helps with managing the area to preserve its special features and is a source of innovative ideas for improving conservation and local value of the reserve.
On the Web
The community support network for Soomaa national park in Estonia,