Soomaa.com is a small local nature tourism business, that has been in business for 25 years in Soomaa national park. They promote the natural values and conservation aims through interpretation and education of our customers (both domestic and international) while taking them to guided canoe trips on rivers and guided hikes in forests and on bogs. They also contribute to the preservation and sustainable use of cultural values by promoting local dugout canoe heritage. Knowledge of building aspen dugout canoes is a living culture, that has survived in the remote villages of Soomaa due to the regular natural floods, called “the fifth season” by local people. Since 1996 we have organized boat building workshops.
Soomaa national park (established in 1993) is a large wilderness area, home for large carnivores such as brown bear, lynx and wolf. Soomaa was certified by PAN Parks in 2009 and joined a European-wide network focusing on the protection of wilderness areas, the continent’s most undisturbed areas of nature. The company Soomaa.com became Local Business Partner of PAN Parks, together with six other businesses, demonstrating their high environmental standards and commitment to wilderness protection. The company actively contributed to the creation of a Sustainable Tourism Development Strategy of the national park.
The local guides of Soomaa.com are passionate about the nature values of Soomaa national park, they do actively promote the preservation of these values and the conservation aims of the national park.
Soomaa.com regularly works with media aiming to raise awareness about wilderness values of Soomaa national park and the need for better conservation measures. Since 2014 they are part of the local group in Soomaa national park, who actively participates in the dialogue and campaign for better forest conservation in the national park. As a result of this campaign, the protection regime of some state-owned floodplain forests have been changed and planned logging inside the national park was cancelled.
Soomaa.com is constantly improving its work by taking into account the feedback from customers, as well as by networking with other nature tourism businesses in different protected areas nationally and internationally.
In 2017 Soomaa.com initiated and organized an international conference to discuss the issues of tourism in protected areas and to exchange good practices. Tourism businesses from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Slovenia participated, an there are plans to organize a similar forum also in the future.
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