Reformulating the ‘incubator’ concept returns this to its roots. The focus is an analysis of the formation, development and impact of a National Park, Koli NP in Northern Karelia, a remote area on the Finno-Russian border. Unlike all other Finnish National Parks, Koli is managed by a research organisation, METLA, the Finnish Forest Research Institute. It thus has some interesting similarities to consciously instituted university-based incubators, which are designed to exploit the knowledge base of the incubator’s host. Koli’s incubator role, however, is ‘accidental’. We thus distinguish ‘accidental’ and ‘purposive’ incubators.