Tallinn suspends construction of Nõmme-Mustamäe health trails

Earlier this year, Tallinn started the construction of a health trail in the Nõmme-Mustamäe Landscape Reserve. After extensive discussions with the local community, it was decided to suspend the construction of the new health trail for the time being.

Yesterday, 11 May, a discussion was held with the local community on the future of the area's health trails, led by the Head of Mustamäe District Lauri Laats and the Head of Nõmme District Lauri Paeveer. During the discussion, it was agreed that the project will be suspended for the time being and new possible solutions will be sought in cooperation with a broad-based working group, which will include representatives of various target and interest groups. 

"Over the past weeks, we have discussed the creation of the Nõmme-Mustamäe health trails in various formats with dozens and dozens of community members. At the passionate discussion yesterday, many people expressed concerns about the future of the forest. Many people emphasised that the construction of new facilities must have a minimal impact on nature. We have decided to stop the development of the health trail and the city will also terminate the existing contract with the developer," said Lauri Paeveer.

"The Nõmme-Mustamäe Landscape Reserve is home to several protected species of plants and animals. For us, it is extremely important to preserve the species diversity, but we also need to expand the opportunities for getting out and about in nature so that more people can walk or cycle there. In order to find productive solutions, we are setting up a working group at my suggestion, which will be able to study in depth the stages of the project and the related documents. We will involve representatives of the local community, the sports community, the scientific community, animal lovers, the landscape architects' association and people with reduced mobility," added Lauri Laats.

The Foundation Eesti Terviserajad initiated the preparation of the health trails project, which is part of a larger network of health trails on the border of the districts of Mustamäe and Nõmme. The wider aim of the project is to create a cleaner, safer and more active urban environment.

In March, a northern goshawk nest was discovered in the area and work was temporarily suspended. In Estonia, the northern goshawk is listed in the Red Data Book as Category II, which includes species that occur in very limited areas or habitats and could be at risk of extinction if threats persist. Work was scheduled to resume in the second half of the summer, when the breeding season of the northern goshawk is over. Logs currently stored in the forest will be removed from the forest at the end of the summer, as birds may be nesting in them at this time. In addition to the birds, attention has also been paid to the vegetation. With the permission of the Estonian Environmental Board, some protected plants have been replanted along one section of the road to ensure that valuable species are not damaged during the reconstruction work. However, the city decided to stop the works at this stage and terminate the contract with the contractor.