The 30,000 ha Paanajärvi Wilderness is embedded in the Paanajärvi National Park, Russia. Paanajärvi Wilderness is located right at the Arctic Circle and preserves the representative examples of natural values of the whole Karelia region, at the Finnish–Russian border. There is a well-developed Sister Park Program with the Oulanka National Park at the Finnish side. Paanajärvi Wilderness protects a large piece of typical and pristine Scandinavian and Russian taiga and the region with vast forests and hundreds of pristine lakes and rivers. The boreal forests with lakes reach into far horizons with no sign of human presence, any roads or towns. The Paanajärvi Wilderness and Olanga WILDRiver create a great example of pristine and remote Wilderness.
The Paanajärvi Wilderness is well protected under the Russian federal law. There is also a great potential to enlarge the Paanajärvi Wilderness in the National Park limits, because the majority of the park is an area without any extractive use.
European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit System
The 30,000 ha Paanajärvi Wilderness was audited and monitored in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012 and meets the Platinum Wilderness Quality Standard. A European Wilderness Quality Standard Renewal-Audit is scheduled for 2019.
- Protected area: Paanajärvi National Park
- Wilderness: Paanajärvi Wilderness
- Wilderness Quality Standard: Platinum
- Country: Russia
- Size of the protected area: 104,371 ha
- Size of the Wilderness: 30,000 ha
- European Wilderness Quality Standard Audit : 2012
- Wilderness Uniqueness: Boreal taiga, lakes and clear river, native predators like wolf, bear, lynx, and wolverine
- Number of visitors per year to the protected area: approx. 6,000
- Number of visitors per year to the Wilderness: approx. 2,500
The Paanajärvi Wilderness provides safe refuge for many species typical for this region, such as elk, lynx, hare, and lemming. Besides this the boreal forests are home to brown bear, wild reindeer and wolverine. Altogether, 36 mammal species inhabit this area. During winter times, you can find otters as well as wolf tracks along the rivers. Many rare birds nest in the Paanajärvi Wilderness, such as golden eagle. The flora of Paanajärvi Wilderness consists of approximately 1,190 plant species, of which 130 have an endangered or vulnerable status. Most of the forest in the park is completely untouched.
Wilderness Tourism Experience
Paanajärvi National Parks and particularly Paanajärvi Wilderness are offering a unique experience in unspoiled Karelian region. In the last years, more and more visitors are heading to this area, particularly from nearby Finland, to learn what a real large-scale boreal Wilderness means. Visitors can come across the great grey owl, which protects its nest fearlessly. On the open mountain summits, they can meet local courageous inhabitants: the lemming and ptarmigan. But first of all, they can enjoy the vast panoramic view over the unspoiled Paanajärvi Wilderness full of conifer forest, crystal clear lakes and Olanga WILDRiver.