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A countryside magazine of Local Action Groups in Northern Savo

Wetland attracts tourists in Northern Savo



THE LOCAL ACTION GROUPS IN NORTHERN SAVO The Local Action Groups (LAGs) develop rural areas by funding local projects in the common interest and supporting local enterprises. Funding comes from The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), national government and local municipalities. Also private funding is needed. There are three LAGs in Northern Savo: LAG Mansikka, LAG Kalakukko and LAG Ylä-Savon Veturi. This countryside magazine inspires and gives examples of developing rural areas in Northern Savo.


Ainonkatu 2, 77600 Suonenjoki




Isoharjantie 6, rakennus S1, 2. krs 71800 Siilinjärvi


Sonkajärvi Kiuruvesi Iisalmi



Antinkatu 10, 74120 Iisalmi


Lapinlahti Pielavesi



PL 2000, 70101 Kuopio +358 295 026 500




Tervo Vesanto

Kuopio Tuusniemi

HighwaySavo is a joint communication project of Local Action Groups in Northern Savo.


Rautalampi Suonenjoki Leppävirta



Finnish Lakeland district marketed for Asians Finland has over 188,000 lakes and around 180,000 islands, many located in the Lakeland district, the largest in Europe. 90% of Finland is covered in either water or forest. In addition, Finland has the cleanest water in the world. Text and photo: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN Source: https://www.visitfinland.com/lakeland/


innish nature is also something that Green Escape Oy, based in Lapinlahti, wants to offer for tourists to experience. The company wants to promote sustainable and responsible traveling. One of the entrepreneurs of GreenEscape is Parvathy Venugopal, originating from India, nowadays living in Lapinlahti. She noticed the beauty of Finnish nature already by living in Northern Carelia. Now she wants to persuade Indian and other Asian travellers to Northern Savo. -Asians know Nokia, Helsinki and maybe Rovaniemi and northern lights but they have no idea how beautiful the Finnish nature or summer is. That’s what we want to offer them to experience. Parvathy Venugopal tells that tourists come often to Helsinki because capital city is well-known in the world. The goal of GreenEscape is to bring them closer to the Finnish nature away from Helsinki. -We do not have same kind of everyman’s rights to move freely in

Parvathy Venugopal believes that Asian tourists are interested in Finnish nature.


nature in India as there is in Finland. Therefore, basically to walk freely in forest is exotic to Indian and Asian tourists. I have realised that such a beautiful nature is worth marketing to Asians.

Variety of holiday and vacation packages. GREENESCAPE GATHERS different kind of holiday and vacation packages for tourists together with local entrepreneurs and service providers. -For example, a family holiday may include a few days in Helsinki and after that four to five days in Lakeland district. Families are offered accommodation and a selection of activities to experience with the whole family, Venugopal tells. The goal of the traveling agency is

to find and offer a variety of activities to different kind of customer groups. -We have a good selection of activities to choose from. The activities can include paddling, hiking, walking in the Finnish nature or a day out in the forest under the guidance of an expert wilderness guide. There are lots of things to experience that Asians cannot even imagine. LAG Ylä-Savon Veturi has granted funding for GreenEscape for boosting rural tourism on its first steps and in marketing. -Without the LEADER grant we wouldn’t be at this point. We got a lot of support for making applications and gathering funding. Marketing to Asia requires a lot of work. -And now we have coronavirus (Covid-19). With the help of the grant, we were able to work through the coronavirus spring. We had some extra time to develop and plan our holiday selection for the next year.


WETLAND ATTRACTS TOURISTS IN NORTHERN SAVO Finland is among one of the most wetland-rich countries in Europe. Many ducks of Western Europe hatch in the boreal wetlands of Finland. One of the waterlands is located in Rautalampi in Northern Savo. Text and photos: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN Sources about Finland´s wetlands: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/language-culture/finlands-wetlands-are-an-internationally-significant-archaeological-repository https://kosteikko.fi/en/



five hectare area of waterland, is a beautiful place to enjoy the nature and its wildlife in many ways. Entrepreneur Petri Huttunen says that for some people it is a place to relax, enjoy excellent view over the wetland and its rich birdlife, for some it is a place for game management and for others it is a place for bird hunting. -There are many possibilities how to use this area. Tourists are interested in guided nature tours alone because they are easy to access, Huttunen tells. In order to access the waterland easily, Erähevonen, the company of Huttunen, has provided a road for cars right next to waterland. Soon, there will be a campfire shelter which will be accessible for disabled and physically challenged persons as well. -One of the ideas is to consider disabled customers. My fishing boat has been changed suitable for casting and there is room for two wheelchairs as well. The campfire shelter is also designed for wheelchair users and physically challenged persons.

Expanding wildlife and nature tourism for disabled customers.

Petri Huttunen is expanding his business in order to make his own living fully by wildlife and nature tourism.


THE BACKGROUND of Huttunen’s company is in horse breeding. In recent years, the focus of his business has shifted into wildlife tourism. Huttunen has studied to become a Tourism Activities Organiser (Vocational Qualification in the Tourism Industry in Finland). After completing the studies, the shift in

business has been natural. - I was working as a fishing guide in Tervo which gave me the idea to productise fishing activities for my own business and so I started to offer fishing trips for casting and jigging, Huttunen says. Now, Huttunen’s activity selection includes also hunting since the waterland offers excellent opportunies for that. A fishing trip or a guided nature tour may include also food services or other wildlife related activities. In addition, Huttunen provides accomodation in a holiday cottage by a lake in Rautalampi, and another holiday cottage is being built nearby in Vesanto. -Up until now, my business has been very small but ever since LAG Mansikka granted funding from The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) I was able to expand my business and start marketing. I have already made connections to Russia but at first I focus on Finnish customers with autumn and winter hunting experiences.


BRINGING STORIES TO LIFE IN JUANKOSKI Bringing stories to life in Juankoski ’Juankoski here I come’ could sing a virtual Juice Leskinen who is brought back to life in a project of Juankoski Iron Foundry Society (Juankosken Ruukki). The society has filmed new videos of Juice Leskinen, a legendary Finnish singer-song writer originating from Juankoski, and his youthful years and old times of Juankoski. The filming is executed together with the local theatre club of Juankoski and the local society for cultural history of Juankoski. Text and photos: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN

Iron Foundry owner guides tourists on the Iron Foundry area and on the internet.




he videos show Juice Leskinen’s childhood sceneries and the milieu of Juankoski Iron Foundry. The completed videos will be transferred into a virtual reality application after which they can be watched with new mobile devices while walking around in Juankoski. The chairman of the local society for cultural history, Marja-Sisko Pihl, tells that guided walking tours have been available for tourists for years. Subsequently, the idea of filming guided theatrical tours with their stories and characters arose in the local theatre club of Juankoski.

Jari Kosonen, a business promotion officer of the City of Kuopio. Now the theatrical guided tours and their stories and characters have been filmed. After editing and transferring them into a new application anyone walking on the Iron Foundry area can watch them on a mobile device whether it’s raining or the sun is shining. -The project has combined mutual targets of the local community: guiding tourists, modernising services and operation of the museum and making the Iron Foundry area lively, Pihl rejoices. As the project proceeded, it was supplemented with Juice Leskinen

and his history. -People are interested in Juice Leskinen again since a movie and books about him have been released recently. With the aid of the modern technology, we can bring back to life places and events that are related to his youth, she tells. The project consists in its entirety of history of Iron Foundry area and history of Juice Leskinen’s youth connected to modern technology. -Part of the video material will be edited for internet as well, and it will be used in the museum opening next summer. Hopefully, videos will attract more tourists to Juankoski, Kosonen hopes.

History connecting to modern technology. AFTER THE THREE local societies had been talking and thinking together the big picture what would serve tourism broadly, the idea of the project grew bigger. The outcome was Memorable Tourism Experiences project (Elämyksellistä matkailua) which got a LEADER grant from LAG Kalakukko. -When technology enables experiencing new things, we wanted to combine the history of Juankoski Iron Foundry and technology, says

Little Juice Leskinen was a diligent reader.


Marrula offers cosy bed & breakfast accomodation Bed and breakfast Marrula offers a good night sleep and a delicious breakfast in Palonurmi village in Nilsiä in Kuopio. Marrula’s hostess, Marja Pietikäinen, wants to offer travellers relaxed moments and a good connection to nature at Marrula. Text and photo: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN


peaceful location, beautiful environment with a lakeview and an easy access to Tahko Ski Resort attract travellers from near and far to Marrula in the coming years. -I decided already at the age of ten that at the age of fifty I will have a log house by a lake in Palonurmi village, she says. The idea of starting a bed & breakfast guest house arouse by travelling around the world. -I have often stayed in a family accomodation and prefer that rather than a hotel. Guest houses ran by a family have given me an opportunity to meet different kind of people and experience more than I would have in a plain hotel room. WHEN PIETIKÄINEN started designing her own house to Palonurmi village, she wanted a bigger house instead of a smaller log house as she wanted to accomodate guests. The log house is built on a hillside


Marja Pietikäinen offers bed & breakfast accomodation at a peaceful location in Palonurmi village in Kuopio.


LEADER grant speeded up finishing guest rooms. in the year 2019. It has three levels and the top floor is designed for guests with three bedrooms, a comfortable living room and a wellequipped kitchen. It is also possible to have breakfast served by the hostess on the second floor while enjoying the views of Tahko slopes appearing 15 kilometres ahead in the horizon. The log house is built in a traditional Finnish style with large, hand carved logs from a local forest. The wooden structure with logs is also a way of connecting with nature. -Already at the stage of designing, I wanted make sure that the house would be built with natural materials

and would have a good indoor air quality. Therefore, the material of the house is untreated wood and we have also used a paper-based traditional wallpaper on the top floor. -We have used sawdust as insulation and natural ventilation without the use of mechanical systems bringing fresh air into our home. Building with traditional style enabled the natural ventilation. Entrepeneur thought that the building project was quite big so the financial support from LAG Kalakukko was a welcomed aid. -With the help of the LEADER grant we were able to build the rooms on the top floor. The grant enabled the guest rooms to be completed earlier than they would have been without it. -We have already had requests from Finland and also from Russia. We believe that we offer a memorable alternative to those travellers who want to experience something different.

From Savo to Hollywood Jere Koistinen, from Varkaus, is a man of full speed. He had just finished his movie Ensitreffit (First Date) and premiere had just been celebrated when he got the idea that his next movie needs to be a bit bigger. Text and photo: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN


thought that let’s roll again! I had an idea: let’s forget a small Finnish comedy and instead let’s bring a Hollywood production to Varkaus at once! That’s how it all started. In the year 2017 we were writing the script and developing the idea, in the year 2018 we were gathering the funding and started shooting the film. Now we are almost ready with filming, we still have a couple of days left in Los Angeles. Premiere should be during next year. In the leading roles are well-known names, Cameron Duckett, Keenan Proctor and Hollywood superstar Julia Robert’s brother Eric Roberts. Well-known Finnish names are among others Janni Hussi, Jarkko Tamminen, Pete Poskiparta and Jenni Alexandrova. But how on earth is a Hollywood movie made in Varkaus in Savo? -There’s a lot of space to film, and it’s great how local people have been very supportive since such movies do not often get filmed around here, Koistinen says. The movie Insite has been filmed in different cities and it has not been a problem according to Koistinen.

Jere Koistinen and Teemu Kantonen edit a Hollywood movie filmed in Savo.

www.insitemovie.com www.rainydayentertainment.fi

Although, there is a lot of distance between Savo and Hollywood, it requires only a little more planning compared to one location.

Support for internationalisation. LAG MANSIKKA granted support from EAFRD to Koistinen’s company for internationalisation. - It enabled us to visit Santa Monica’s international filmfestival and making connections and getting aquintanted with international marketing people. One of the challenges is marketing the film when marketing starts towards the end of the year. Then it will be seen, has the trip to Santa Monica paid off. - The LEADER grant was really helpful. It enabled us making good connections in Los Angeles. Without the support from LAG Mansikka we would have not been able to open up as good marketing channels as we have now, Koistinen praises.

The exact dates of the soon to be released movie are not yet known but Koistinen suggests that by following Rainy Day Entertainment and social media channels of Insite movie it will be informed. -YouTube channels play a big role until the release. I can recommend following RainyDayChannel in YouTube.


Marko Väisänen’s company Vaisaset Oy has doubled its sales after receiving LEADER grant from LAG Kalakukko.


VAISASET OY DOUBLED ITS SALES Vaisaset Oy, based in Siilinjärvi, has succeed to double its sales after it received LEADER grant for business development from LAG Kalakukko. Vaisaset Oy is a company specialised in racing car suspension parts, especially in suspension arms. Text and photo: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN


usiness development project consisted of investment into new production facilities. -We were able to acquire new production facilities and renovate them. We painted the roof and installed a new flooring, changed the electrical heating into air source heat pumps and so on, tells entrepreneur Marko Väisänen. The business has grown practically on all Key Performance Indicators measured in the company. -If you compare our sales before and after the investment project, the sales have almost doubled, Väisänen says.

5000 suspension arms to the world. THE COMPANY got started in Väisänen’s own garage about five years ago when the first suspension arms were made. After that the business has grown rapidly. Väisänen had a teammate who had problems with his racing car suspension arms. Väisänen made him a pair of suspension arms and ever since the demand has grown. Over 5000 suspension arms have already been delivered to a growing clientele.


-Most of our customers come from Finland but there are orders waiting in line for customers from England, Spain, France, Norway and Latvia. Suspension arms are mainly made for racing cars a bit older than the highest class of international rallying but there are a couple of customers competing in the World Rally Championship as well.

More sales and employees. THE LEADER grant from LAG Kalakukko played a key role in expanding production facilities. The paperwork was easier than Väisänen anticipated and the result is better than expected. -The financial support was significant. Without the LEADER grant from LAG Kalakukko, we would have not been able to renovate the facilities to such an extent we could now. After completing the investment project, the business and the number of employees has grown. -When I started the project, I had only one employee besides me. Now I have three employees. It is clear that the project had an obvious impact on employment, Väisänen smiles.

Syvänniemi lakeside was build with cooperation of villagers A hundred years ago, Syvänniemi was a strong and vibrant village which was built around industry created by Hermanni Saastamoinen. What is left of Saastamoinen is an interesting history and a beautiful Hermanni-house. Nevertheless, the village is still vibrant and active with its local society of Syvänniemi village although the village has become a part of the City of Kuopio. Text and photo: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN


he latest proof of an active village society is a mutual lakeside restoration project with the City of Kuopio which was financially supported by LAG Kalakukko. Village activist Jari Partanen tells that a local sports track with lighting was built already in the year 2013 and the lakeside was cleaned by the local villagers in the year 2016. The lakeside restoration project named as ‘Outdoor recreation as rural tourism attraction’ consisted of constructing an outdoor fitness park with canopy, a playground for children, a campfire site and a swimming place for dogs and pets. In addition, public swimming beach was restored. BUILDING OF the lakeside started

Pekka Kääriäinen and Jari Partanen are smiling after a succeed lakeside restoration project.


in the year 2016 and fitness training equipment was installed in July 2017. After that the lakeside was being cleaned up until June 2019 when the official opening of the lakeside was celebrated.

Over 100 villagers participated. -We have about twenty active people in the society in Syvänniemi but in this project there has been more than hundred people participating over the years, Partanen says. The new lakeside area is in free use of the residents of the village. -This area around Hermanni-house

and the beach provide the centre of the village where people meet each other and enjoy outdoor activities. The beach and the playground are in active use of families, dog owners and other active people. The project was a large set of actions for villagers and residents of the City of Kuopio. In addition to LAG Kalakukko, the City of Kuopio was also financing the development of Syvänniemi lakeside. As the project proceeded, the villagers got hungry for success and the local sports team joined the project. -When the project moved on, we wanted to invest a bit more. We bought fitness equipment of higher quality than anticipated as the local sports team, Syvänniemen Nousu, wanted to participate in the project also financially.


ESCAPE ROUTE IN SUKEVA Nowadays it is easy to escape Sukeva. Sukeva is famous for its prison in Finland. If not escaping from prison, it is possible to escape to enjoy culture and sports in Sukeva. An escape route for cultural heritage sites and sports activities is about seven kilometres long and it runs around the Sukeva village centre. Sukeva is a village in Sonkajärvi town. Text and photos: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN


he escape route includes a dozen cultural heritage sites and sports activities. Constructing of the route was funded by LAG Ylä-Savon Veturi and Sukeva’s District Council. The District Council is a part of the Central Administration of Sonkajärvi town. Secretary of the Sukeva District Council, Mirja Tonteri, says that the idea of the escape route arose during another Leader development project of LAG Mansikka, Village centres as service centres -project. -Back then we were talking about communications and marketing. We noticed that we have a lot of places in our own village that we would gladly like to show others as wells. Then we decided to wrap them up in the same package, Tonteri explains.

The LEADER grant and a joint effort motivated local volunteers. When the project idea was written down, the whole route was formed only within four months. The escape route was constructed partly on old crosscountry skiing tracks. Therefore, poor trail condition needed to be renovated with 190 cubic meters of sawdust and 26 cubic meters of woodchips. The local sports society, Sukevan Kisa, was helping with the renovation process. -Without the LEADER grant and a joint effort of motivated local volunteers this route would have not been constructed, Tonteri tells.


CULTURAL HERITAGE sites of the escape route comprise e.g. an old school built in 1889, the wooden railway station built in 1905, the Hirsikangas camp center, an old traditional bridge called Männikön silta and the church of Sukeva built as chapel in 1934. The sports activities of the route consist of mini golf, tennis courts, frisbee golf course, public beach, outdoor fitness equipment and the whole beach route running along the shore of the lake Sukevanjärvi. -The seven kilometres long escape route is a good length for a walk. Although, everybody might not visit all the locations of the route. The route is easy to use because you can choose which cultural heritage sites and activities you want to visit or how long you want to just walk, Tonteri says. In addition to sports and cultural heritage sites, the route includes a wilderness pond and a hut on the shore of Valkeislampi where you can walk along a duckboard trail. On the shore of Sukevanjärvi, there is also another campfire shelter with a dry toilet by a beautiful lakeside. -The escape route is made for all villagers, by passers, tourists and basically to everyone. We have marketed the route to residents of neighbouring towns as a neighbourhood sports area because this is near everything, Tonteri tells. In addition, it is also possible to load a mobile route application and while stopping at the locations to read about the history and present day of Sukeva. www.retkipaikka.fi/sukevan-pakoraitti


SHEEP TOOK OVER THE FARM When Tuulikki and Alois Bรถhmisch drove to a farm just to have a look at it, they immediately knew that they would buy it. Text and photos: TOMMI KORPIHALLA Translation: HANNAKAISA MARKKANEN



fter the farm was theirs, they realised that the farm courtyard needed some animals. First came a couple of chickens and soon there were some sheep which kept the lawn tidy. -At first, we had a ram and three ewes. Then came some lambs. When they grew ewes, we had some more lambs. Today the situation is that we have altogether about 250 sheep and lambs! In the autumn, we need to give up some lambs but the amount of ewes stays the same, Alois Bรถhmisch tells. Originally, the sheep were bought to keep the lawn tidy but there also was an idea about meat production. What happened with the chickens, happened with the sheep: in the beginning there were eggs for own family, but soon people wanted to have them as well. -When the demand grew, the amount of sheep grew. Nowadays, the couple is making different kind of farm products. In addition to meat production, also sheep hides are tanned, wool is spun into yarn, dyed and finally sold to customers. BOTTLENECK OF production and sales has been the lack of facilites for

From a barn to a boutique store. selling. Now, the problem is about to solve with the aid of LAG Mansikka. -We are renovating an old barn into a boutique store. There will be a kitchen, decent facilites to handle meat and a small boutique store for other products as well. This is what we have been really needing for, Tuulikki Bรถhmisch says. The old barn in the farm courtyard was built in 1948. It will be converted

into a boutique store. -There will be freezers for meat products in order for customers easily to select the meat they want to buy. Besides the facilities for handling meat, there will also be facilities for drying herbs. The financial support from LAG Mansikka has been a big help to the farmer couple. They could have not afford to finance such a big renovation by themselves. -After we received the LEADER grant, we were able to hire a professional. If we had to make everything by ourselves, the renovation would have not proceeded as quickly as it is has now, the couple admits.

Tuulikki and Alois Bรถhmisch are renovating an old barn into a boutique store for their farm products.


LIFE ACCORDING TO N AT U R E ’ S R H Y T H M Experience the world’s culinary hub and Europe’s most delicious years 2020-21. Pure nature and local food on a plate: tasty wild herbs, sweet summer, harvest flavours and the wonderful bounty of nature.

Tastiest Region

Themed weeks

Enticing travels

A region known for its nature and quality of life

Delicious years 2020-21: Nature on a plate

Jubilee years 2020-21 festivals & highlights

Kuopio and the province of North Savo is the first region in Finland to receive the European Region of Gastronomy Award, which is being celebrated in 2020-2021.

The two year programme is centred on gastronomy, food and comprises events and activities that will tickle the taste buds of tourists and local alike.

The European Region of Gastronomy recognition emphasizes responsibility, use of local food, local culture as well as business cooperation.

North Savo is known for its pure and tasty raw ingredients, vigorous agriculture, enterprising food businesses and incomparable culinary experiences.

In the region, inspiration, warm-heartedness and freedom of being are forces of nature that together generate unique phenomena, experiences and success stories. The region’s inhabitants understand something about good living.

Tasty events and festivals are complemented by activities suitable for both individual tourists and tourist groups.

2020 OCTOBER 12.-18.10. The fall is coming; colorful delicacies. 27.10.-1.11. ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival. 2020 DECEMBER 7.-13.12. The magic of winter; Christmas and festive tastes. 2021 MARCH 8.-14.3. Towards the light; Snacks and easy recipes for everyday life. 2021 MAY 3.-9.5. Fresh and crisp; Spring and summer festivities. 2021 JUNE 18.-26.6. Delicious nature; wild herbs and wild food. 18.-19.6. Satoa GOES WILD foodfestival, 24.-25.6. Lohimaa Midsummer, 23.6. Muuruvesi Midsummer, 25.6. Kuopion Harbour Midsummer. 2021 JULY 9.-17.7. Sweet summer; berries and seasonal treasures. 9.-10.7. Beer festival & 9.7. lemonade festival at Iisalmi, 16.-18.7. Suonenjoki strawberry carnival and local food festival. 2021 AUGUST 21.-29.8. Harvest; berries, mushrooms and seasonal flavors. 7.8. Lapinlahti cheese and wine festival, TBA Louhenkatupäivä, TBA Sampea ja samppanjaa, 27.-28.8. Satoa Kuopio Food Festival. 2021 SEPTEMBER 11.-18.9. Nature’s bounty: Berries, mushrooms, fishing, hunting. TBA Kuopion Fish market.*

ERG logo on the company’s door, on the menu, on the website or other marketing materials tells the company is a jewel of food travel or product in the region. For the customer, the ERG logo or stamp communicates local and authentic, responsibly produced products and services. The overall European Region of Gastronomy projects are administered by ProAgria in Eastern Finland & the Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation together with the Savonia University of Applied Sciences.

The programme’s themed weeks include berry- and mushroom picking trips, picnics, cooking courses, workshops, pop-up restaurants and events, culinary tour packages and food festivals. The overriding theme of the year’s programme is foraging: picking berries and mushrooms, hunting and fishing. The programme is uptaded weekly. Find out more #tastesavo #capitalofgastronomy #europeanregionofgastronomy More info » tastesavo.fi

Programme & events » tastesavo.fi *Changes are possible.

Profile for HighwaySavo

HighwaySavo -A countryside magazine of Local Action Groups in Northern Savo in Finland  

This countryside magazine inspires and gives examples of developing rural areas in Northern Savo.

HighwaySavo -A countryside magazine of Local Action Groups in Northern Savo in Finland  

This countryside magazine inspires and gives examples of developing rural areas in Northern Savo.


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