PROJECTPLAN FOR A PUUKKOKANGAS - SAIJA - MUNICIPALITY

BOUNDARY SNOWMOBILE ROUTE

GENERAL

General objectives of the plan

Establish and construct an official Puukkokangas - Saija - municipality boundary snowmobile route in terrain that is marked in accordance with the off-road traffic law. The plan will be approved by the technical board of the municipality of Salla and route construction proceedings will be applied for from Lapland's local surveying office. The municipality of Salla will be responsible for route maintenance. The route will be open to the public for snowmobile traffic during snow cover.

Need for a route

The route to Saija and from there to the boundary between Salla and Savukoski is the municipality of Salla's trunk route north. The location of the route is specified in the provincial plan approved by the Regional Council of Lapland, which is currently being ratified, and in the Saija - Pulkkaviita comprehensive shore plan. In the project plan the route is located in the place indicated in the provincial plan. It begins in Kelloselka at Puukkokangas and primarily follows a snowmobile trail that has been in use four years already. It is about 29 kilometers long and 6 meters wide.

Converting the trail into a route improves traffic safety and route maintenance. The route will be widened and the route bed will be improved to make it more usable. Planning and construction of the route integrates users' needs, authorities' requirements, winter maintenance and the needs of reindeer husbandry and tourism businesses. The improved route bed, traffic signs and service furnishings will serve businesses and future business development in the region.

In conjunction with the establishment of the snowmobile trail the village committee of Saija arranged a meeting to discuss the need and location of a snowmobile route. The initial official route planning meeting was held in June 2004 at the Saija school.

In two places the coming route and the existing trail both pass through the Joutsenaapa - Kaita-aapa bog conservation area, which is a Natura area. In these places the route passes through a beautiful scenic area that fits the purpose of the route. The route does not endanger implementation of the goals of conservation, but rather promotes a positive attitude toward conservation. The location has been covered in the planning process of the conservation area's use and maintenance plan.

Impact of the route on cross-border activity

Implementation of the route will increase tourism business across the border station. The Kelloselka - municipality boundary route will diversify the network of snowmobile trails in the Salla region that is connected to the border crossing and thereby increase the possibilities of cross-border tourism products. The new route will create a new link toward northern Salla and the Savukoski and Pyha-Luosto tourism areas. The connection to Savukoski and Pyha-Luosto in particular will make it possible to reach new potential clients interested in tourism in Russia.

Implementation of the project is also a natural continuation of the long-term work that tourism en­trepreneurs have done to develop tourism in the direction of Russia. The Kelloselka - municipality boundary route will enable concrete implementation of tourism products developed in various educational projects.

Project's links to other development activity

The project is closely linked to plans to construct a Salla border station - Alakurtti snowmobile route on the Russian side of the border. The Kelloselka - municipality boundary route will functionally support the coming Alakurtti route, also enabling a flow of tourists to the northern Salla, Savukoski and Pyha-Luosto tourism areas in addition to the Sallatunturi area. Without the Kelloselka - Saija - municipality boundary route there is no connection to the west, and this hinders tourism-related utilization of the route being constructed on the Russian side.

Cross-border cooperation between tourism companies is currently being developed in Lapland with the help of a LapKola project for the development of tourism businesses in Lapland and the Kola region. The goal is to construct mutual safari products, for example, with Finnish and Russian tourism entrepreneurs. Without a proper network of snowmobile routes mutual cross-border products are not possible.

Route description

In the beginning the route follows a logging road to the north side of Aapa-Tuohilampi Pond, where it turns toward Tuohiaapa bog. Tuohioja Creek, which flows from Tuohilampi Pond, is crossed over a sturdy bridge. Before Uuttulehto the snowmobile trail joins Saija residents' old "Kellontie", a winter horse trail that was used before today's public roads were built. This way this winter horse trail will be preserved as a travel route and monument in the future, also. Before the Kuolajoki River the route leaves the Kellontie trail to go around the eastern tip of the Joutsenaapa - Kaita-aapa bog conservation area, which is a Natura area, and then travels through the conservation area for about a half a kilometer to a crossing over a fence between lands of two different reindeer owners' associations. At this time no bridge will be built over the Kuolajoki River, so the river crossing will be made by freezing the ice to ensure its load-bearing capacity. The road also follows the old Kellontie trail on the other side of the river. At Kiimakaukalo (an inlet in the river) the route leaves the trail to the right to avoid a forest road built on the trail and returns to the Kellontie trail about one kilometer further on. Here the location of the route will be moved away from the forest road (a short branch north from the trunk road) to more solid ground at Hirvasaapa bog. The forest road crossing is also in a safer place at a straight section of the road. The areas of unobstructed visibility will be thinned sufficiently. South of Sarivaara the route turns northeast along an old winter horse trail between Kukkura and Sarivaara toward the middle of the village of Saija. The route drops down to the Sarilampi peatland, after which it passes under a power line and continues toward the Salla - Savukoski road. At the village the route is moved to a place away from water and power lines according to the master plan. Here a completely new passageway has to be cleared. The route then follows the road to the Saija store, which is also a fuel station.

There is a reindeer fence in the pine forest between Sarivaara and Kukkura where reindeer herds arriving in the village are corralled in winter. The planned route crosses the fence. The fence will be removed from the area in conjunction with the construction of the route.

The sections of road along the route are not easement roads, with the exception of the old Kellontie trail, which was defined in the general parceling out ofland as an "(easement) road that has been in use for ages". The route maintenance rights entered in the register are not inconsistent with the rights specified in the general parceling out of land, since the rights were specified for the purpose of public travel needs, which route maintenance is today.

The section of route from Puukkokangas to the edge of the village of Saija is in low-lying land. The forests located on mineral land have been cut and the forest lands have been plowed and planted with pines. The forest lands contain mostly mature seedlings. The bog areas are treeless. No winter-time logging is planned in the area in the near future, so the roads are not plowed in winter.

In the village of Saija the route passes through forests and fields on hard ground to Orihinkonelo, where it crosses the Kuolajoki River. No bridge will be built across the river. After the river the route passes through pine forests, from which it drops down to the Renttima-aapa bog in the Joutsenaapa - Kaita-aapa bog conservation area, along which the route goes to the boundary between Savukoski and Salla. On the Savukoski side the route continues to the center of the municipality. The distance from the Saija store to the municipality boundary is a little over ten kilometers. No forest bird mating areas have been observed along the planned route.

Prehistoric relics

The nearest known prehistoric relics are located along the Aatsinkijoki River in Patoharjunmaa to the west (Eastern Lapland's permanent prehistoric relics, 1993, 121-122), and the route does not endanger them.

Road crossings

The snowmobile route crosses the local road, known as the Saija loop, twice. The Finnish Road Administration (Finnra) has nothing against the crossing at the end closest to Kelloselka. At the northern end of the Saija loop the route is located in a rock cut. The cut will be lowered at the crossing and an embankment will be built on the opposite side so that the rest platforms and areas of unobstructed visibility meet the standards specified by Finnra.

Harmful effects of noise and light

According to the standard values given by the Council of State, the noise level of new residential areas should not exceed 45 dB during the day. The corresponding value for old residential areas is 55 dB. In a town the calculated noise level drops 3-6 dB when the distance doubles. Trees, bushes, fences, hills, buildings and a soft snow cover effectively dampen noise when the direct line of sight to the source of the noise is interrupted. Noise barriers dampen noise by 5-10 dB. Lowering speed to 60 km/h drops the noise level by 3.5 dB. The noise of a snowmobile reaches 75 dB when driving past a measurement point 15 meters away at a constant speed of 24 km/h. Rapid acceleration to a speed of 60-80 km/h causes the noise level to reach 80 dB 15 meters from the measurement point. By using these values it is possible to calculate that in different conditions the trunk route should be about 150-700 meters from residential buildings. In practice, noise is also strongly dampened by a drop in air temperature, an increase in moisture and wind conditions. The lights of a snowmobile may be disturbing in the dark if they shine through the window of a residence.

The harmful effects of noise on the route will be prevented with the help of distance. Additionally, lower speed limits will be set in the vicinity of villages. The route travels only a short distance alongside the Salla - Savukoski road. Along this stretch trees will be left between the road and the route. The route will be situated away from the shoulder of the road. There is also a difference in elevation between the road and the route which is sufficient to prevent harmful reflections and to isolate the road and the route from each other.

Part of the project plan by Vesa Haataja.


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