In August 1967, the foundation stones of the first building were installed in the middle of northeastern unsettled wilderness of Finnish Lapland. The forest, fell and peatland landscape has changed only little since then, but the unique area has later been protected as a strict nature reserve. In its early years, the station specialized in wildlife studies. In 1991, the first SMEAR station was built on the top of Kotovaara hill.
At present, the site hosts versatile measurements on meteorology, air chemistry, aerosols and ecophysiology. E.g., the photosynthesis of the pines growing close to the timberline has been monitored already for a quarter of a century. The SMEAR measurement hut had got crowded with manifold instruments, and its extension was finished just before the celebrations. It also got a ‘satellite site’ in a different habitat: there is a new measurement site on a riverbank 5 km away from the main site.
The celebrations started with official part at the national park visitor centre in Savukoski. Thereafter participants moved to the station to familiarize with the current research topics and instrumentation. The night continued with sauna, dinner, music and discussions far into the night under the northern lights.