Outdoor routes development in Saarijärvi-Viitasaari sub-regional unit

Project sponsors

Project type
Development project
Focus area
Implementation time
1.10.2019 - 30.9.2020
Project unit
School of Business
Financing program
Rural Development Programme for Mainland Finland
Project description

Saarijärvi-Viitasaari sub-region is known for its great lakes and nature. This pilot study's target is to take steps to a more comprehensive approach to outdoor routes development and create a joint development plant to further enhance outdoor activities and nature tourism.

The project's aim is to find out how outdoor routes network and nature tourism could be an even more important attraction in the future. The target groups of the project are the administrators as well as local inhabitants and tourists using the outdoor routes and companies using the route network.

The project includes a study of 16 existing outdoor routes selected by the participating communities, surveys of outdoor route users and maintenance personnel and a study of the current situation of nature tourism business and companies and their outdoor related product offering in the area.The project will also organise workshops and an expert seminar.

The project is carried out between 1.10.2019-30.9.2020in Saarijärvi-Viitasaari sub-region, including the following: Kannonkoski, Karstula, Kinnula, Kivijärvi, Kyyjärvi, Pihtipudas, Saarijärvi and
Viitasaari. The main

The main implementer of the project is Kehittämisyhtiö Witas Oy, with Jamk University of Applied Sciences. The project is financed by Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and by the communities in the area.

More information:
Riikka Mansikkaviita
Project manager

Upe Nykänen
Project specialist, Jamk
tel. 040 572 7056

Project results

The project outcome included a joint development plan to improve outdoors activities and nature tourism. The development plan (Elinvoimaa ulkoilureiteiltä in Finnish) was published at website.

The project included 3 packages: 
1) Study of current situation
  • of 16 outdoor routes (assessment report, gpx tracks and results for the communities and common development plan as well as development of an assesment method
  • outdoor routes' user engagement survey
  • community personnel engagement survey

2) Study of local companies

  • assesment of available services and activities from public sources on a map
  • interviews of companies
3) Events
  • workshops for companies
  • workshops for communities
  • a webinar for local outdoor routes' developers
All of the above were included in the development plan. The project developed new methods: an assesment method for route evaluation and an engagement questionnaire.

Joint products/services in workshops:
  • a cycling route package: planned in workshops in April, was developed as a saleable product together with companies and SydänSuomen Keskusvaraamo
  • a canoeing package: planned in workshops in April, a draft product moved forward but the route wasn't in good enough condition for the package to be realized
  • additionally, other joint ideas developed in February workshop.
Updated on 4 Oct, 2020.