The health benefits of recreation in a forest relate in particular to preventive health care, as well as to the restorative and rehabilitation effects it offers. Studies show that roaming in the wild promotes health and well-being.
The forest for health use being planned in Lahti would be located next to the Päijät-Häme Central Hospital, in the area of Lake Likolampi and the Kintterö Nature Reserve. The health forest would serve in particular the hospital's customers, staff and residents of the area.
The plans involve building a barrier-free environment by Lake Likolampi which would be easy to access from the hospital. The Kintterö Nature Reserve is located in a more challenging forest terrain, with at least 50 kettles, says the father of the idea, Nature Preservation Supervisor Asko Riihelä.
Typical of the Lahti esker terrain, kettles are hollows in the ground created during the last ice age when the ice sheet was melting. They can be up to dozens of metres deep and wide. Some kettles have even had ponds and lakes emerge in them.
The forest will be designed to cater to the needs of the hospital
The Lahti forest for health use will be established on the City's land, where there are already numerous forest trails. If the funding comes through, the new routes and structures to be build in the forest will be designed to meet the needs of the hospital. The design will make use of the master's thesis being written by Finnish Championship-level orienteer and student of landscape architecture, Ina Westerlund, at the Aalto University.
Promoting the health and well-being of its residents is one of the City's important tasks. The new strategy of the City of Lahti highlights the themes of everyday well-being, one example being the promotion of recreation in nature within the city and increasing the number of nature reserves.
Asko Riihelä, Nature Preservation Supervisor
tel. +358 (0)50 559 4053, firstname.lastname@example.org