Martimoaapa Mire Reserve

Founded:  1981
Mainantance:Metsähallitus, Lapin luontopalvelut
Park Attendants:Hely Juntunen, Metsähallitus
Speciality:Natura 2000 area
Acceacreage:134 km2
Location:Simo/Keminmaa county, South-Lapland (about 20km northeast of Kemi)

Martimoaavan – Lumiaavan – Penikat mire reserve

is one of the Northern Finland’s most important places designated for the protection of mires.

Martimoaapa mire reserve was founded 1981. Martimoaapa are located in the Northern Finland, about 20 km northeast of Kemi. Northwestern part of the region, Keskipenikka ja Helkkunen, are located on the Keminmaa municipality side. Metsähallitus is the management of the area.

Bird nesting area

The Martimoaapa is significant in the protection of threatened birds. Almost 100 species of birds nest in the area.

Birds can be observed for Lake Martimojärvi or on the Nature trail watching tower.


Various reptiles, butterflies and insects thrive in the mires of Martimoaava.

The mires serve as summer pastures for deer and reindeer. Bears, lynxes and wolves can pass through large predators in the area. There can be seen also an otter on the Martimo-oja stream.


There are many forest islands between the bogs, which are important habitats, e.g. for game birds and fauna.

Forests which are very close in their natural state can be found on the slopes of the Kivalot Hills and in the south part of the reserve.

Restoration of Forest
Natura 2000 area

Kivalo hills

The Kivalot is a 100 km long chain of high hills. The chain reaches as far north as Eastern Lapland. A part of this chain called the Penikat Hills is within the mire reserve. 

Mire landscape can be admired from Kivalo’s observation tower.


Most of the mire area is characterized by the predominant massif form is typical aapamires with lawn surfaces in the centre. In the Martimoaapa area, there are six large mires: Simoskanaapa, Martimoaapa, Järviaapa, Myllyaapa, Lumiaapa and Kivalonaapa.

The protection area has over 10 different types of mires, but more than half of the area consists of aapa bogs.


There are a few waters in the mire protection area, but also springs and spring marshes. The rugged, but beautiful Martimojärvi is located in the southeast part of the area. The Martimonoja River that originates from the Lake Martimojärvi gathers water from the upper mire areas and bypasses the Martimoaapa mire.

To the south of Lake Martimojärvi spreads the Martimoaava pond area, which consists of dozens of small swanp ponds. The area is difficult to access, but the area should be calmed down because the source area is sensitive and important for nesting birds.

Number of visitors

Metsähallitus Luontopalvelut collects visitation numbers of the most popular state-owned protected and hiking areas in its administration, as well as at the Martimoaapa. Since 2014, the number of visitors to Martimoaava has been steadily rising. Hopefully, in the future, more and more people will find this wonderful natural destination.

Martimoaapa visitors numbers by year. Source:

Martimoaapa history

The Martimoaapa history blog series recounts the history of Martimoaapa and its surrounding area from ancient times to the present day, highlighting signs and memories that are still visible to travelers in the terrain, serving as reminders of times past. The blog posts have been translated with ChatGPT.

The mires of Martimoaapa and the surrounding nature have a history thousands of years old, which might not necessarily come to mind when gazing upon the vast marsh landscape.

1. In the footsteps of the Giants

In the Martimoaapa area, there are abundant traces likely dating back to prehistoric times as a testament to the activities of ancient people.

Read part 1

2. Wanderers of the wilderness

After the Ice Age, land uplift moved the sea shore kilometers away from Penikkavaara. There were still plenty of wanderers in these rugged backwoods.

Read part 2

3. Gits of Nature

Since the late 1800s, settlement has gradually spread to the surrounding villages of Martimoaapa. During the summer, the scythes of the mowers swayed on the grassy marshes, while in winter, the nearby forests were filled with logging sites.

Read part 3

4. Jäger secret routes and war times

The phases of Finland’s independence and wartime years also touched the Martimoaapa area. Jäger soldiers traversed a secret route through the area, and the Simo skirmish took place in the Maaninkajärvi.

Read part 4

5. Let’s go skiing and protect the mire nature

In the 1970s, there was a ski slope at Keski-Penikka, and hiking trails were built. At the same time, there was also a growing interest in nature conservation. The Martimoaapa mire conservation area was established in 1981.

Read part 5