Industry at the mercy of wood and water
Southern Savo’s industry has developed at the mercy of two local resources: wood and water. Driving logs down waterways was vital to the development of the wood processing industry and hydroelectric energy was used to power saws and to produce electricity.
Lusto, a living forest museum in Punkaharju
The Finnish Forest Museum Lusto presents the close relationship of Finns and the forest and the history of that relationship. In addition, Lusto teaches visitors about and preserves forest culture by organising many types of events on the subject.
Inn at the Rauhaniemi Museum in Sulkava
The Rauhaniemi Museum is a Metsähallitus inn for community gatherings that was built in the 1850s. The building was moved from Syrjäsaari in Lohilahti to Rauhaniemi in the beginning of the 1970s. The inn served as a home for the men driving logs and the forest ranger lived there year round. Visitors will feel like they have gone back in time and are sharing the inn with the log drivers.
Log-driving base at Miekankoski in Mäntyharju
The Mäntyharju Log-floating Association had a building built at Miekankoski in 1947 for log-drivers to use as their base and to store the equipment needed for log-driving. Nowadays, this building serves as a coffeeshop and the warehouse next door has an exhibition on log-driving and the tradition of log drivers. Visitors to Miekankoski can experience this tradition in its actual environment.
The sawmill industry started up in the 18th century. The Miettula Sawmill in Puumala was established in 1765 and the boards it sawed were exported, mainly to Russia. A few other sawmills were established in the following decades, but production was small-scale. Only in the 19th century did the magnitude of the sawmill industry start to grow. From 1810 to 1870, the number of sawmill employees increased almost ten-fold. The worldwide recession at the end of the 1920s, however, hit the sawmill industry in particularly hard. In Finland, the other branch of the wood processing industry, the paper industry, bypassed the sawmill industry in importance.