Enjoy nature responsibly – because what goes around comes around

People visit hiking trails and protected areas more often in summer, and so that everyone can relax and enjoy their time in Estonia’s pristine natural environment, it is important to take care of the world around us.
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Whenever you spend time in a protected area, you have to follow the guidelines set out to protect it. These rules are established in order to maintain the natural features that are characteristic of that particular area.

“People drive off-road, park right on the waterline on beaches, camp or make fires on beaches and in forests in undesignated spots that aren’t designed to be used for that purpose and, of course, burn plastics like packaging and disposable plates in addition to wood and paper,” said Marek Põld, the director of the Hiiumaa office of the Environmental Board. And these are just some of the issues that the board has faced because of people spending time outdoors. Last week, officers were forced to issue almost 10 warnings for improper camping and parking and to fine one individual, who had set a campfire in an undesignated area.

“The sheer weight of a car can seriously damage vegetation, or even destroy it if you drive over it a few times,” Põld explained. “Every new campfire leaves a mark, not to mention the toxic gasses emitted when you burn waste, which not only harms Mother Nature but the people around the fire as well.” Nor should we forget the extreme fire hazard brought on by the current heatwave: if you leave your campfire unattended, a single spark could be enough to turn your dream break into an infernal nightmare.

We recommend doing your homework before heading into the great outdoors – that way, your outing won’t become an unexpectedly costly one when you are issued with a fine by an environmental inspector. Download the State Forest Management Centre app (‘RMK Loodusega koos’) to find camping and campfire sites and to double-check the boundaries of conservation areas. The app is free, whereas the maximum fine for any of the abovementioned violations is 1200 euros.

All bodies of water have a limited management zone so as to avoid water pollution and protect their natural habitats. For example, veering off designated roads in any vehicle can cause oil pollution, damage the ground and harm the fragile vegetation in coastal areas.

According to the Nature Conservation Act, you must park your vehicle at least 200 metres from the shoreline of the Baltic Sea and Lakes Peipus, Lämmijärv, Pskov and Võrtsjärv;

at least 100 metres from the shoreline of lakes (incl. artificial lakes) with an area of more than 10 hectares and from the shorelines and banks of lakes, brooks and artificial recipients of land improvement systems with a catchment area of more than 25 square kilometres;

at least 50 metres from the edges, shorelines and banks of springs, lakes (incl. reservoirs) with an area of up to 10 hectares and rivers with a catchment area of up to 25 square kilometres.

If you are unsure, park your vehicle further away rather than closer.

If you are spending time in a protected area, bear in mind the following:
When driving, remain on the designated roads (marked as a continuous line on the map) in order to preserve the natural environment. Park in the protected area’s designated car park or on the side of the road parallel to the direction you are driving in.
Camping and campfires are only permitted on designated sites.
You must bring a fire extinguisher with you to the campfire site or barbecue area.
You may collect branches from the ground for firewood, but you are not permitted to cut down either dead or growing trees.
You may only burn paper and wood in the fire. You must not throw plastic packaging and other waste onto the fire.
The ground and the vegetation on it will be dry and highly flammable after a dry spell. Please keep an eye on your fire or barbecue equipment at all times.
It is courteous to tidy up the campsite before you leave. When leaving, make sure your fire has completely gone out.
Everything you bring in with you must be taken away again when you go. Any waste left behind poses a danger to the animals who inhabit the area.
For your own use, you can pick wild berries, mushrooms, flowers, herbs, hazelnuts and other natural produce provided it is not under protection.
Pets should be on a leash at all times and kept away from any nesting grounds where they might harm the local fauna.
If you notice any activity that could damage the environment or seems to you to break the law, call the national hotline 1247. We all have to work together to preserve our natural environment.

People visit hiking trails and protected areas more often in summer, and so that everyone can relax and enjoy their time in Estonia’s pristine natural environment, it is important to take care of the world around us.
SHARE
Whenever you spend time in a protected area, you have to follow the guidelines set out to protect it. These rules are established in order to maintain the natural features that are characteristic of that particular area.

“People drive off-road, park right on the waterline on beaches, camp or make fires on beaches and in forests in undesignated spots that aren’t designed to be used for that purpose and, of course, burn plastics like packaging and disposable plates in addition to wood and paper,” said Marek Põld, the director of the Hiiumaa office of the Environmental Board. And these are just some of the issues that the board has faced because of people spending time outdoors. Last week, officers were forced to issue almost 10 warnings for improper camping and parking and to fine one individual, who had set a campfire in an undesignated area.

“The sheer weight of a car can seriously damage vegetation, or even destroy it if you drive over it a few times,” Põld explained. “Every new campfire leaves a mark, not to mention the toxic gasses emitted when you burn waste, which not only harms Mother Nature but the people around the fire as well.” Nor should we forget the extreme fire hazard brought on by the current heatwave: if you leave your campfire unattended, a single spark could be enough to turn your dream break into an infernal nightmare.

We recommend doing your homework before heading into the great outdoors – that way, your outing won’t become an unexpectedly costly one when you are issued with a fine by an environmental inspector. Download the State Forest Management Centre app (‘RMK Loodusega koos’) to find camping and campfire sites and to double-check the boundaries of conservation areas. The app is free, whereas the maximum fine for any of the abovementioned violations is 1200 euros.

All bodies of water have a limited management zone so as to avoid water pollution and protect their natural habitats. For example, veering off designated roads in any vehicle can cause oil pollution, damage the ground and harm the fragile vegetation in coastal areas.

According to the Nature Conservation Act, you must park your vehicle at least 200 metres from the shoreline of the Baltic Sea and Lakes Peipus, Lämmijärv, Pskov and Võrtsjärv;

at least 100 metres from the shoreline of lakes (incl. artificial lakes) with an area of more than 10 hectares and from the shorelines and banks of lakes, brooks and artificial recipients of land improvement systems with a catchment area of more than 25 square kilometres;

at least 50 metres from the edges, shorelines and banks of springs, lakes (incl. reservoirs) with an area of up to 10 hectares and rivers with a catchment area of up to 25 square kilometres.

If you are unsure, park your vehicle further away rather than closer.

If you are spending time in a protected area, bear in mind the following:
When driving, remain on the designated roads (marked as a continuous line on the map) in order to preserve the natural environment. Park in the protected area’s designated car park or on the side of the road parallel to the direction you are driving in.
Camping and campfires are only permitted on designated sites.
You must bring a fire extinguisher with you to the campfire site or barbecue area.
You may collect branches from the ground for firewood, but you are not permitted to cut down either dead or growing trees.
You may only burn paper and wood in the fire. You must not throw plastic packaging and other waste onto the fire.
The ground and the vegetation on it will be dry and highly flammable after a dry spell. Please keep an eye on your fire or barbecue equipment at all times.
It is courteous to tidy up the campsite before you leave. When leaving, make sure your fire has completely gone out.
Everything you bring in with you must be taken away again when you go. Any waste left behind poses a danger to the animals who inhabit the area.
For your own use, you can pick wild berries, mushrooms, flowers, herbs, hazelnuts and other natural produce provided it is not under protection.
Pets should be on a leash at all times and kept away from any nesting grounds where they might harm the local fauna.
If you notice any activity that could damage the environment or seems to you to break the law, call the national hotline 1247. We all have to work together to preserve our natural environment.