The Olanga WILDRiver spans over a length of 36 kilometres and is embedded in the Paanajärvi Wilderness and in Paanajärvi National Park, Russia. The Olanga WILDRiver is characterized by an extraordinary scenery, with the well-known Kivakkakoski rapids. Today this is the highest unregulated waterfall in Karelia with a height of 12 meters. There are altogether 13 rapids on the river from lake Paanajärvi to Pyaozero lake. The Olanga WILDRiver is the key element and driving force behind the establishment of the Paanajärvi National Park and later on the transboundary protected area: the Paanajärvi National Park in Russia and Oulanka National Park in Finland.
The Oulanka WILDRiver coming from Finland is crossing the Finland-Russia border and changing the name to Olanga WILDRiver. The Olanga WILDRiver flows into the Lake Paanajärvi. Then Olanga WILDRiver connects Lake Paanajärvi with the region’s largest lake, called Lake Pyaozero, outside of the Paanajärvi National Park. Every summer, brown trout force their way upstream through foaming rapids of the Olanga WILDRiver to reach the calm backwaters in the upper part of the Olanga WILDRiver. The Olanga WILDRiver (Russia) and the Oulanka WILDRiver (Finland) create a great international WILDRiver.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 36 km Olanga WILDRiver was audited and monitored in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2022.
- Protected area: Oulanka National Park
- WILDRiver: Olanga WILDRiver
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Bronze
- Country: Russia
- Size of the protected area: 104,371 ha
- Size of the WILDRiver: 36 km
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit: 2012
- WILDRiver Uniqueness: Olanga WILDRiver and Kitka WILDRiver surrounded by old-growth northern boreal pine forest, mires and swamps
- Number of visitors per year to the National Park: approx. 6,000
- Number of visitors per year to WILDRiver: approx. 2,500
The surrounding of Olanga WILDRiver is a safe refuge for many species typical for this region, such as elk, lynx, hare, and lemming. Besides this the boreal forests around are home to brown bear, wild reindeer and wolverine. During winter times, you can find otters as well as wolf tracks along the Olanga WILDRiver. Many rare birds nest close to the Olanga WILDRiver, such as Golden eagle. Most of the forest around Olanga WILDRiver is completely untouched.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
Paanajärvi National Park and particularly Olanga WILDRiver are offering a unique experience in unspoiled Karelian region. Over the last years, more and more visitors are heading to this area, particularly from nearby Finland, to learn what a real WILDRiver looks like and what large-scale boreal Wilderness means. Visitors can come across the great grey owl, which protects its nest fearlessly. But first of all, they can enjoy the wild rapids of the Olanga WILDRiver.