This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of the publication is the sole responsibility of City of Lieksa and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.
Prepared using materials from the project "Lieksanjoki - a waterway from Russia" (Interreg II Karelia programme)
Implemented by Lieksan Melojat ry.
Responsible persons: Kari Mauro (tel. 0400 850 027, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Pentti Ruokolainen (tel. 013 531 543).
Total area of the Lieksa river watershed in Russia is about 5,930 km2.
We surveyed the water route from village Konetsostrov on Lake Rovkulskoye to village Lendery. It comprises 5 lakes connected by three rivers 7-12 km long with 17 rapids on the way. The total length of the route is nearly 100 km (35% by rivers) and the altitude gradient is 35 m. The lakes on the route are Rovkulskoye, Torosjarvi, Leksozero, Kargiozero, Suda. The largest one is Lake Leksozero, which is comparable in size to Lake Koitere in Finland. The rapids belong to classes I-III according to the international classification. Most rapids are of the I-II classes.
Description of the route along the Lieksa river system lakes and rapids was produced, the rapids' levels of challenge were determined and trip instructions were developed within the project. The map of sites along the route suitable for camping was compiled. We also compiled the list of measures required to improve the infrastructure and the list of sightseeing objects.
River Lenderka used to be an important trade route through which ships ascended well up to the White Sea. The earliest mentions of the route date back to 1556. The river had been intensively used till the first half of the XX century, when its functions were taken over by the continuous road network. The river was used for timber floating from 1860 to 1984. The river was then the source of work and wellbeing for local people.
This 7-km long river originates from Lake Rovkulskoye and empties first into Torosozero and then into Leksozero.
The rapids are easy, rated I-II. A canoe or inflatable boat would pass them at any water level, but a wooden oar boat - only when the flow is high.
The gradient in the river stretch is about 8 m.
River Sula, which is 12 km long, has 4 rapids.
Sula originates from Kargozero and empties into Lake Sula.
The rapids are easy, rated I-II. The flow is however much more powerful than in Torasjoki rapids.
The total gradient in the stretch is about 7 metres.
River Lenderka originates from Lake Sula and empties into Lake Lenderskoye. The river is 10 km long. The stretch contains 7 rapids concentrating in the first 6 km.
The rapids are notably more challenging than all described above (classes II-III).
The total gradient is nearly 19 metres.
The river structure allows it to be used for water tourism even in its current condition. The water level is high enough for water tours throughout the ice-free period, which is one of the decisive criteria for water tourism organisation. Timber floating partially smoothed the rapids down, eliminating the need for specific amelioration of the rapids themselves. They contain no obstacles to whitewater rafting and are safe enough for this sport. The runs are quite wide and clear, the river is fairly deep. If a person falls out of the boat, there is no real danger to their life, given that they are adequately equipped. Some of the rapids allow easy portage or kayaking, if one feels they are too difficult for boating. Being very attractive, larger rapids are not in fact extremely difficult or dangerous.
The landscape all along the route is amazing. The surrounding forests are in good condition. They are mostly young forests, but occasional dead standing trees and overmature stands render an impression of something archaic. There are no summer cottages in the area, only small fishermen's cabins fitting well into the surrounding landscape can be seen now and then. One rarely encounters motor boats on the river, mostly near villages. The route offers a chance for a solitary trip, without meeting a single person for days. It seems human presence has never disturbed the nature and quiet of the land. Recesses like this can nowadays hardly be found in Finland or any other part of Europe. The nature and landscapes are what attracts people to this place. If we are to develop nature tourism in the area tomorrow, today we must work out the nature conservation plan based on the sustainability principle and identify the measures necessary to eliminate some problems that have already emerged.
There are no ready-to-use campsites as yet, but quite a number of natural glades are suitable for setting out a camp. The area also has several dozens sandy beaches and dry sandy islets where one could stop to rest. The only exception is some river stretches, which can be easily reclaimed though. Some sites are so well suited for staging that no sophisticated facilities are necessary. Furthermore, there are some places of unique beauty, where large camps should be avoided in order to preserve the natural harmony.
Old Karelian villages are an inseparable component of the local landscape. Fragments of foundations of the first houses can still be seen in many of them. People mostly live in the villages in summer and come to mow hay in the glades. All villages are situated in remarkably scenic places on lakeshores and riverbanks. It is great pity that the beautiful large houses are virtually falling apart because local people do not have the money to renovate them. Some old people in the villages speak Karelian. If the guests are in no hurry, they will willingly narrate fascinating stories of romantic old times.
The most feasible type of tourism for the area is whitewater rafting and boating, since all the necessary preconditions are available.
Lakes of the area are a true paradise for fishermen, offering extensive and diverse possibilities to fishing addicts.