It is famous for undisturbed natural complex, richness and diversity of flora and fauna species, beautiful landscapes. It is located in the north-western part of Karelia. The gem of the park is lake Paanajärvi. It is not very large (1.5X24 km) but very deep (128 m). There are many rapids on the rivers and some water falls. There are many valuable fish species in the rivers.
The national park Paanajärvi is located in northwest of Karelia in its most raised part occupying spurs of ridge Maanselkja. The park has been founded in 1992 on the area of approximately 104 thousand hectares. Landscapes of the park are extremely picturesque - mountain tops here are divided by deep gorges, numerous lakes, various bogs and rough rivers with noisy rapids and falls. Slopes of mountains and valleys of the rivers are covered with virgin almost inviolate woods, among which sharply prevail thin fir groves. Under their flat a magnificent carpet of bilberry, some other bushes and grasses expands, and branches of fur-trees are covered with manes of "bearded lichen" which is the indicator of cleanliness of the air. In mountains, at the height of 400-500 m., fir groves are replaced by the fir and birch light forest turning into birch crooked woods and tundra communities. On the coasts of rivers and lakes and on the sites with sandy grounds pine forests grow. In their cover reindeer moss, a favourite forage of northern deer, are usual.
Pearl of park is Paanajärvi lake, stretched from the west to the east like a blue ribbon, in a frame of mountain tops, rising to water as steep rocks, or remaining in small distance. In such places the well defined terrace between lake and mountains was formed, which in remote times has been a life arena for several tens the Finnish families settling farms around of lake. The microclimatic conditions developing in this intermountain hollow, are favorable not only for animal husbandry, but also for cultivation of some agricultural crops including barley and rye. However as a whole, the influence of economic activities of local population on the nature of the region was insignificant. Now it appears as small glades covered with meadow motley grasses and thrickets of raspberry, creating favorable visual contrast to gloomy taiga landscapes.
The lake Paanajärvi is well-known first of all for its small size. This is the second deep lake in Karelia (after Ladoga), and, perhaps, in the considerably more extensive territory. The lake possesses very clean water and a significant variety of fauna that is explained by ancient connections with the White sea.
From the west the river of Oulanka originating in Finland flows into the lake, and from the opposite end the river Olanga flows out flowing into Pyaozero, one of the largest lakes of Karelia. Water system Oulanka-Paanajärvi-Olanga, cutting Maanselkja ridge, served as ancient trading way between Swedish Bothnia and Russian White sea regions. In those times the Russian-Swedish border approximately halved the lake Paanajärvi to what the boundary stone being now the tourist sight testifies. Natural sights of the lake and river are 4 beautiful falls, and one of them, Kivakka, is one of the largest in Karelia. The impression from this falls amplifies even more that it look effective "on the background" of the mountain bearing the same name, the third on height in the park (499 m). By the way, the top of this mountain is one of the historical and cultural objects: the seids, the sacred stones of ancient Saams, are settled there.
The highest mountain of Karelia, Nuorunen (577 m), is also located in the park. The ecological track, not difficult for passing, but leaving the whole scale of unforgettable impressions, leads to its top, as well as on Kivakka.
Waters of the park are rich in fish. The salmon trout is of the greatest interest, since it reaching 5-7 kg. in weight. As well as umber, white-fish, and bull-trout, it is the object of license catch.
In the park there are foot, ski, motorized sledge and water routes. There are over ten small houses constructed, capable to receive simultaneously up to 60 tourists. Places for installation of tents are equipped.
The office of the park is situated in the village of Pyaozersky. The roads lead there from the border, the regional center the settlement of Louhi and from South.
On beauty and variety of landscapes, riches and undamaged state of natural complexes the national park Paanajärvi can be included in the number of the best parks of Russia.
The site of the Paanajärvi National Park.