Finland is known as "the land of a thousand lakes" due to the large amount of lakes in the country; over 187,000 lakes can be found in Finland. Statistically, there are about 26 lakes for every single person in the country. Ten percent of Finland consists of water while dense forest covers two-thirds of the land. A majority of the lakes in the nation formed thousands of years ago at the end of the glacial period. Below are the largest lakes of Finland.
The Largest Lakes in Finland
Saimaa is the largest lake in the country and the fourth largest freshwater body in Europe. Saimaa is not a single lake but a series of lakes including Puruvesi, Orivesi, Pyhäselkä, Haukivesi, Pihlajavesi, and Suur-Saimaa. The lake covers an estimated area of 1,700 square miles. The lake has 14,000 islands and a total shoreline length of 8,500 miles which is the longest lake shoreline in the world. A series of canals connect Saimaa to smaller lakes in the region to form a waterway used to transport wood, metals, pulp, and minerals. The lake holds about holds about 8.6 cubic miles of water.
Lake Päijänne is the second largest in Finland with an area that ranges from 413.13 to 418.11 square miles depending on the amount of inflow. The lake is the primary source of water for the Greater Helsinki area. It is divided by thousands of islands the significant being Vuoritsalo, Onkisalo, Muuratsalo, Taivassalo, Edessalo, and Judinsalo. The lake drains to the Gulf of Finland through the Kymi River. Thousands of tourists flock to the lake annually especially those fascinated with canoeing.
Lake Inari is the largest in the Sápmi and the third largest in the country. It is located in the northern end of Lapland. The lake covers an area of 401.65 square miles and holds an average of 3.8 cubic miles of water. The lake remains frozen from November to early June. The Paatsjoki River drains Lake Inari and provides water for the Paatsjoki River Hydroelectric Plants in Russia. The most popular island in the lake is the Hautuumaasaari that served as the graveyard for the Sami people. The local population depends on the lake for salmon, Arctic char, grayling, whitefish, and perch and pike.
Threat to the Lakes of Finland
The lakes of Finland are under immense pressure from both manmade and natural factors. The destruction of the habitats, especially deforestation and mining, endanger the water catchment area and the animals that depend on the lakes and their environs for habitat. Global warming is also threatening the primary source of water for the lakes as glaciers are melting at a higher rate. The native Saimaa Ringed Seal is among the species that have been affected by the change in the environment. Overfishing is also threatening the fish population.