Municipality of Rautjärvi

Hiitolanjoki Hurmaa – River Hiitolanjoki Charms Opening 8.6. and Padonpurkuja ennakkoluulottomaan itä-suomalaiseen tyyliin – Eastern Finland Dam Removal Seminar 7.6.

In the spirit of World Fish Migration Day at Hiitolanjoki, June 7-8, 2024

A weekend with a flowing water theme was celebrated in Rautjärvi, South Karelia, Finland, starting on Friday, June 7th, with the “Successes from Eastern Finland” invitation-only seminar at Simpele Primary School. At the same time, World Fish Migration Day was celebrated a bit later than the official day. During the seminar, attendees were treated to an exhilarating overview of how numerous migration barriers have been removed throughout Southeast Finland and Savo Karelia. The number of barriers removed surprised many listeners.

Perttu Tamminen from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry presented the Nousu program, and Antton Keto from the Ministry of the Environment discussed stream restoration. Risto Artjoki, State Secretary from the Prime Minister’s Office, sent his greetings via video, updating on the current situation at rapids Palokki, and mentioning the public celebrations planned for the following day. Minister and honorary chairman of WWF Finland, Pertti Salolainen, talked about the history of protecting flowing waters in relation to the present day.

From a local perspective, we were naturally interested in our own river Hiitolanjoki. This was addressed in presentations by Major Harri Anttila and Hanna Ollikainen, CEO of the South Karelia Foundation for Recreation Areas (Ekvas). A notable achievement is the upcoming release of the significant rapid Kurunkoski in river Torsanjoki by WWF Finland, allowing salmon and trout from lake Ladoga to reach the large and cold-watered lake Torsanjärvi. The open public celebration “River Hiitolanjoki Charms” i.e. “Hiitolanjoki Hurmaa,” held on Saturday, June 8th, will be remembered as an event where the most significant elements were the public and Hiitolanjoki itself. The atmosphere created by the attendees was warm and communal. The event brought together at least 3,500 guests, including Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Sari Essayah and Minister of the Environment and Climate Kai Mykkänen. Many members of Finnish Parliament, former and current regional leaders, the commander of the Southeast Finland Border Guard, and recently retired WWF Finland Secretary General Liisa Rohweder were also present.

There were five event locations: the opening speeches were held at the Theme Market in Rautjärvi center, where a written greeting from the event’s patron, Dr. Jenni Haukio, was read. Dr. Haukio is a well-known advocate for nature and the wife of President Sauli Niinistö. From the market, non-stop bus transports took people to the rapids.

At rapid Ritakoski, the opening speech was given by Liisa Rohweder, followed by a whitewater kayaking demonstration. At rapid Lahnasenkoski, Sari Essayah’s greeting was heard, and the main focus was on music. At rapid Kangaskoski, Member of Parliament Jukka Kopra delivered the opening words, and fly fishing without hooks was demonstrated. The event concluded with a panel discussion at B&B Hiitolanjoki River Arena, focusing on Hiitolanjoki and the significance of flowing waters.