Saija Lodge, established since 1990
Owners Helena and Asko Karppinen
Helena and Asko Karppinen got the idea of becoming tourism entrepreneurs after writer-professor Kalle Päätalo made the village of Jokijärvi known in Finland. Kalle Päätalo was born on 11.11.1919 in Jokijärvi, where he spent his childhood and adolescence. During the Second World War, he held various positions in the war for 5 years, and after the end of the war, he stayed in Tampere. He lived there for the rest of his life. Author Kalle Päätalo's first book was published in 1958. Kalle Päätalo wrote a total of 39 books, including 26 books about his own life. For Taivalkoski, the names of places and persons in the books are their own names, and when writing, he used the dialect used in Jokijärvi. Kalle Päätalo's works are read very widely in Finland. Based on the books, research work of recent history and dialect is carried out. Still many readers want to get to know Kalle Päätalo childhood home, which serves as a museum, as well as the village of Jokijärvi in general.
Jokijärvi did not have any services for tourists, and this led us to the idea to start a company that offers tourists a restaurant, accommodation and program services.
Saija Oy (Saija Lodge) was founded in 1990 and in 1991 the construction of the buildings of the tourism company began on the shores of Lake Jokijärvi in Saijanniemi. We wanted Saija to be a home-like holiday mansion built in the style of the early 1900s.
History of the name
The word Saija comes from the Sami language and means a place of rest, a place of gathering. Hundreds of years ago, the area was inhabited by Sami and has a lot of Sami vocabulary. Finnish settlement has come mainly along watercourses from the south.
At the beginning of 1990, our customers were mainly Finns, who usually travelled in groups and wanted to learn to know the area. Saija Lodge offered bus groups meals, overnight accommodation and guidance services surrounded by beautiful nature.
Over time, we also received central European guests. In the winter, they often did dog sledding tours organized by another entrepreneur and we arranged meals and overnight stays. When a dog sledding entrepreneur moved away from us and sold his dogs, we bought one sled full of dogs with which we learned to mush a dog sled. Over time, the number of dogs increased and we started selling dog sledding tours ourselves. Now there are over 140 huskies living in Saija Lodges kennels.
Today, most of our guests come from Central Europe. Our main product is still dog sledding tours. We also do other winter-oriented program services, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobile trips and icefishing.
Just now the focus is to develop and increase our summer and autumn programs for foreign customers. Summer programs include various canoe tours from beginner to advanced canoists, day trips hiking along the beautiful Simonen trail, bike rides, berry or mushroom picking and other excursions in nature. In the summer, our guests can visit and pet or groom our huskies, take them for walks or take their favorite husky with them on a hike on the Simosenpolku trail. Dogs are also allow to swim on Saija's own beach.