The southermost municipality of Lapland borders the Gulf of Bothnia about 25 km from Kemi and 80 km from Oulu. Simo is known for its long coastline and the free-floating Simojoki river with its natural salmon stocks. The river divides Simo´s countryside in two. Martimoaapa, said to be Europe´s most beautiful nature reserve, is also a unique attraction.
Thanks to its natural resourses, Simo´s economy revolves around forestry and agriculture. Lapland potatoes, known for their wonderful taste, grow here in the bright, long summer nights. The other important source of income in Simo is salmon fishing, the king of fish. The traditions of farming and salmon fishing still live on in the fishing harbours and islets of Gulf of Bothnia.
The River Simojoki is a ribbon of rapids and flat-water pools that rises from Lake Simojärvi in Ranua and wends its way through picturesque northern Finnish countryside to the Bothnian Bay. The diverse, almost 180-kilometre route etched by the river offers a wealth of experiences supported by a full range of services. What starts out as a narrow, almost lazy stream grows along the way to a good-sized river, whose numerous rapids attract fishers and paddlers alike. The source of the river – Lake Simojärvi – crowns what is already a distinctive waterway: it is a major lake that adds a dimension of its own to the river’s recreational opportunities. What is more, this is all ”in the middle of everywhere” – just a short drive or hike away. The Simojoki has the distinction of being one of the few remaining undammed rivers of any size in Finland.It traverses 180 kilometres from the wilderness of Lake Simojärvi to the Bothnian Bay, dropping 176 meters on this course to the sea. The river boasts a wealth ofrapids, most along its central and lower course, which is where one also finds the most important salmon habitats. In fact, it has the distinction, along with the Torniojoki, of being one of only two Finnish rivers flowing into the Baltic that has a native salmon population. The Simojoki counts among the Finnish Natura sites representing the habitat type “Fennoscandian naturalrivers”. Power plant construction is prohibited throughout the river system by the Rapids ProtectionAct.
The geological history of the river features the lakes and seas following the last ice age, as well as the ensuing land upheaval, a phenomenon that continues to this day. The free-flowing Simojoki does not have a distinct valley, and the landscapes one sees along the waterway are comparatively flat, a characteristic feature of Northern Ostrobothnia.
The central and lower reaches of the river basin embrace extensive mires. Farther her upstream the terrain is hillier, with wooded moraine ridges. On the upperreaches of the Simojoki, the water is pouring nutrients and contains a slight amount of humus naturally. The lower course of the river is richer in nutrients and the water is slightly eutrophic. The settlements along the river introduce some pollution; other sources, particularly on the central and lower reaches, are forestry, agriculture, and peat production, the last located along the river’s tributaries.