The Rotary Club in Pihtipudas is known for its long-term work for the benefit of its local community. A good example is e.g. the attempt to dispose the damaging invasive alien species, the giant hogweed, from the locality. This work required years of work every summer. An even bigger project has been the renovation, maintenance and extension of the 1.5 km long Heinäjoki Nature Trail right next to the village.
After the decision in 2014 – made at the traditional sauna evening – Rotarians have built more than hundred meters long pontoon bridge over the River Matalajoki and a 30-meter-long pedestrian bridge over the Heinäjoki River. All this was done by amateur builders under the leadership of Rotarian Markku Niemelä. Drawings of the bridges were obtained from Municipal Engineer Ari Kahilainen, free of charge!
In addition, the Rotarians built an information center with tables, fireplaces, a pier and a dry toilet, and renovated all 2007 built duckboards.
More than 120,000 euros worth of voluntary work and EU project money have been invested in this project and these constructions owned by Heinäjoen Luonto ry. During the busiest years the number of the Rotarian voluntary hours exceeded two thousand.
After the end of 2019, the nature route with all its structures will be donated to the municipality of Pihtipudas.
In addition to the voluntary work, the Rotary club has donated thousands of euros in cash to the Heinäjoki project by publishing an annual 24-page Pihtipudas Service Map publication (also at issuu.com) with the help of 150 advertisers.