Launching of the Activities of the Large Carnivore.. (Launching of the Act..)
Launching of the Activities of the Large Carnivore Visitor Centre (Development)
Start date: Mar 16, 2003,
End date: Dec 30, 2005
Large carnivores are a fundamental element of the nature in Kainuu, which interest both locals and tourists. The attitudes toward them vary between love and hate. The increase in numbers of large carnivores, which are shared by both Finland and Russia, and their spread to new habitats have spurred the need for information. The interest toward Finlands large carnivores had also been boosted abroad. However, no channels were in use that would easily provide basic biology information, current populations of carnivore species living in Finland, or information about Finnish large predator policies and their reasoning. Large carnivores were not only seen as a shared problem by Finland and Russia, but also as a mutual opportunity. The project was to produce information of large carnivores in Finland and Russia and to also create an operational model for information exchange and research. Petola Visitor Centre in Kainuu was to be made a centralised communication channel for information, which would have a clear role in providing information regarding large carnivores. In addition, a regular information supply network to support the centre was to be created along with a website. The goal was to create the most extensive and dependable information source regarding large carnivores in Finland, which would offer information in a condensed and easily comprehensible format. It would include basic information and the findings of the most recent research reports and be available to international parties. Using the large carnivores as the theme of the Visitor Centre was seen as a good opportunity to increase the appeal of the centre and the whole area as a tourism destination. The large carnivore information centre was to be made into a unique tourism product. Achievements: The exhibition at the Visitor Centre in Kuhmo was renewed both technically and regarding its content. The old exhibition area was now available for general use, and the actual inspirational large carnivore exhibition was constructed in the new facility. A sixty-seat auditorium, teamwork facility and nature classroom are now available in the renewed Petola Visitor Centre that also offers facilities for caf and restaurant services provided by an external entrepreneur. In addition, the www.suupedot.fi website was renewed in the project. The visitor volume at the renewed Petola Visitor Centre was doubled compared to that of the previous Visitor Centre. The average annual visitor volume was 18,000. Th e Visitor Centres support to tourism is to be continued in the future as well, through planned cooperation between actors. Petola has good cooperation relationships with the Town of Kuhmo, tourism and nature tourism companies of the area, and actors in culture. Educational cooperation has also been started and Petola has attracted school groups not only from Kainuu, but also from various parts of Finland and abroad, Russia in particular. The border region cooperation was increased through the project, particularly with the Kostomuksha Nature Reserve. In addition, preconditions for developing nature tourism for the Republic of Karelia were established. Petola is also building relationships with nature centres in other countries. The future of large carnivore communication is the responsibility of the Large Carnivore Steering Group, which consists of several contributors. The task for handling the national large carnivore communication was not assigned to any entity during the project. However, when the decision is made to establish a communication centre, Petola has the best capacity to accept the offered task.
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