Experts Shared Insights on Developing Nature Destinations

Webinar on sustainable development of nature sites and routes brought together several experts to share their experiences and insights into creating sustainable and accessible nature destinations for all. The webinar on December 1, 2021 was organized as part of the project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail which is funded within the framework of South-East Finland – Russia CBC Programme 2014–2020.

Taking care of Kyrönniemi

Deputy Chairman Natalia Kaliagina and project assistant Marina Grigoreva from the All-Russian Society for Nature Protection introduced the current progress of the project. Grigoreva described how volunteers have cleared the Kyrönniemi area and demolished unauthorized structures made by tourists. Nature trails have been preliminarily mapped and options for the structures like benches, gazebos and the recreational zones have been designed.

[ALT-text: Presentation slide with headline, logos and illustration of a nature hiker with a packback is looking lakeside scenery through binoculars.]
Image 1. Screenshot from the welcoming presentation from the webinar. (Isomäki & Freepik 2021)

Creating new, preserving the heritage

Visit Finland Academy Coach Eeva Koivula led us to the webinar theme by presenting the principles and goals of sustainable and responsible tourism. Koivula emphasized that responsible tourism requires all operators, governments, local people, and tourists to share the responsibility. Developers need to cooperate for shared values considering the ecological, social, cultural, and economic aspect of sustainable development.  It is also important to nudge visitors towards understanding responsible travel and to set ambitious goals.

Intendant Jouni Taivainen from Finnish Heritage Agency presented how cultural heritage can be preserved and highlighted in nature destinations. Taivainen provided interesting examples how volunteers can participate in archeological excavations for example at Kierikki Stone Age village and take care of the sites, historic structures and buildings via Adopt a monument program. He also described how cultural heritage sites are searched and mapped during field surveys.

Mia Honkanen, nature conservation specialist from the City of Lahti, shared how municipality can act as a promoter of nature conservation. Honkanen presented how challenges on recreational areas and routes (e.g. littering, vandalism and wear of terrain and structures) are addressed, and  presented the municipality’s goals for the future which included for example increasing the protected area, renewing information and route signs and removing invasive alien species.

Last theme of the day was accessible and socially sustainable tourism. RDI specialists Harri Sarjanoja and Kaisa Leka from LAB University of Applied Sciences presented project LULU – The magic of nature for everyone . LULU develops new operating models for developing accessible tourism. Sarjanoja talked about accessibility in general and introduced pilots and examples of accessible and easy-to-reach nature sites. Leka described how service design and graphic design have been used in the pilot sites.

The discussion throughout the webinar showed the importance of cooperation between all the stakeholders in developing nature sites.

Updates on the Kyrönniemi project are published on the LAB project website:


Tuuli Mirola, D.Sc. (Tech.) works as a principal lecturer in the Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management at LAB University of Applied Sciences. She is the project manager in the Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail LINKKI project. 

Katariina Pakarinen, M.A. (Design) works as a RDI specialist / service designer in LAB University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Design and fine arts. Katariina is specially interested in nature travel, service design and future thinking. 


Sustainable development of nature sites and routes. Webinar 1.12.2021.


Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail. 2021. Project. [Cited 13 Dec 2021].  Available at:

LAB. 2021a. LULU – luonnon lumoa kaikille. Project. [Cited 13 Dec 2021]. Available at:

LAB. 2021b. The project Kurenniemi – Cultural value of Russia and Finland through M. Agricola trail.  Project. [Cited 13 Dec 2021].  Available at:


Image 1.Isomäki K. & Freepik. 2021. Screenshot from the welcoming presentation from the webinar. Layout Kaisu Isomäki. Illustration designed by Freepik. [Cited 13 Dec 2021]. Available at: