Finnish delegation learning about U.P. forestry

A group of five Finnish delegates from Marquette’s Sister City of Kajaani are visiting Marquette this week.

The Sister City Program held a welcome reception at the Peter White Public Library tonight to welcome the delegates to the city.  They were able to meet with members of the community and talk to their host families and friends about their trip.

The delegates are Sotkano Forest Owners, and will be studying U.P. forestry practices compared with their native Finland.

“They (the delegates) have tracts of land and manage these for forest products,” Co-Director of the Sister City Delegations Martin Eskelinen said.  “We’ll be visiting some areas of Michigan State Forests with a Forrester, we’ll be visiting a private forest holding, we’ll visit the National Forests in the Munising area, and the National Lakeshore.  They’ll also be getting information about the problem with the Beech bark disease.”

“(We’ll be seeing) how the forest is taken care of here, and what kind of products you produce here in this area,” Pertti Mustonen, one of the visiting delegates said.  “We’re mostly interested about that because, of course, this area where we come from is the most dense forest in all of Finland.”

Mustonen has been to the Upper Peninsula before on delegate visits, and says he has made many connections with people who have similar backgrounds as him.

“Most of these connections I have similarities in our region in Kajaani,” Mustonen said.  “And of course, the Finnish heritage you have here, so there are plenty of Finns living in the U.P. and that’s a real big part of my heart.”

The delegation had a tour of Marquette Tuesday, and is planning on taking a Pictured Rocks Cruise later this week, along with other events to learn the U.P.’s culture.

They will be in Marquette until June 18.