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:


Jatulinlehto, the prehistoric monument, located in North Part at Martimoaapa area.


Man has lived at Martimoaapa already in prehistoric times, as is proved by prehistoric artefacts found in the area’s western parts on the Penikat Fells. There are dozens of man-made pits in the scree rocks along the slopes of the area’s hills. These pits were most likely used for storing of meat from prehistoric up into historic times. 

The age of ancient artefacts at Martimoaapa can not be known precisely. Based on the altitude that they were found at, many of the items could date back to the Old Stone Age.


Saunasaari cabin is located at Rakkamaa on the trail that leads through the area. It is a loggers’ sauna from the 1950s. At the same location as the sauna there were originally other structures as well, a loggers’ cabin and a stable.

During summer stacked wood was produced in the near-by forests while in winter it was larger logs.  Loggers spent their evenings resting, sharpening cross-cut saws and frame saws, carving new axe handles or playing cards.

“The Pirtu Route”

During Prohibition in Finland in 1919-1932 an alcohol smuggling route run through the area where the mire reserve is today. Pirtu, a home-made spirit much like Moonshine, was smuggled from Sweden across the rocky waters of the Bothnian Bay. Hired hands carried Pirtu in 10 litre canisters strapped to their backs. They followed a secret route; Maksniemi – Sompujärvi – Tervola – Arppee – Kauhanen – Rovaniemi. The route led along the boundary between Simo and Tervola and is still clearly visible in the terrain.

Source: and Kulttuuriperintökohteiden inventointi 2007 (in Finnish).