|The area of Rapolanharju Ridge is protected under the Antiquities Act and the Nature Conservation Act. The Antiquities Act expressly forbids the excavation, covering, alteration and damaging of antiquities or other action without due permission. The Nature Conservation Act seeks to preserve the natural habitat of the area in its present state.
The antiquities of the Rapola area have been in the care of the Site Management Unit of the National Board of Antiquities since 1989. In 1993, upon the initiative of the Council of State, most of the Rapola area was acquired by the Finnish state to be managed by the National Board of Antiquities. In the following year, the area was enlarged to include the whole 140-hectare Rapolanharju Ridge area and the adjacent manors. The set objective of site management was to ensure the continuity of the natural and cultural heritage of the area and to develop it into a location serving a wide range of educational, recreational and tourism-related purposes.
The landscape management plan, which is keyed to the maintenance of the archaeological remains, divides Rapolanharju Ridge into three main sectors that differ from each other in their geomorphology, vegetation, and land use. The management of the cultural landscape of Rapolanharju Ridge is a challenging task due to the large size of the area and the many facets of the landscape. The most important management goals include the restoration and maintenance of the open field landscapes, traditional landscapes, archaeological remains, buildings, and unique features of the natural environment. The forest is also an essential part of the landscape and environment of Rapolanharju Ridge.
The transfer of ownership of Rapolanharju Ridge to the Finnish state also meant that inconveniences and possible economic losses affecting private landowners no longer needed to be taken into account to the same extent as before when developing the area and carrying out various management operations. Landscaping work can now be planned directly in accordance with the requirements of the area’s important natural and cultural features, and the preservation aspect of the maintenance strategy can be augmented by aspects relating to the use of the area for the purposes of education, recreation, and tourism. A network of footpaths has been designed to direct visitor traffic to the various points of interest but also to protect the sensitive archaeological sites and natural features from wear.
Cattle grazing at Matomäki. Photo: Heidi Toivanen.