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This node was inspired by U.S. National Parks and Monuments

80% of the Norwegian population take part in outdoors recreation, ranging from the traditional hunting, fishing and picking berries to the more modern cycling, bathing and sunbathing2. The Norwegian Outdoor Recreation Act protects all Norwegian land, giving full rights to anyone to use any uncultivated land for recreational purposes, regardless of who owns it (arj tells me Sweden has similar laws).

Protected areas in Norway

Some areas have special, protected status, which protects them from development. They are still open for public use like berry picking, hunting, mountaineering and fishing. These areas are of a few different types, as listed below. The numbers in brackets are the number of these areas in Norway per January 1, 20001.

National Parks (18)

Norwegian national parks are relatively large, protected areas, usually on state land. Their main intention is to preserve nature for traditional use. Development of any kind is not allowed in National Parks, to protect the flora, fauna and natural and cultural sites. For a list of all national parks in Norway, see National Parks of Norway. Recently, Forollhogna nasjonalpark was made, making the number 19 on Norwegian main land.

Nature Reserves (1293)

A nature reserve is the strictest protection in Norwegian protection laws. A reserve will be a small area with special significance, like rare ecology or special habitats. A reserve usually has a high scientific value.

Landscape Preservation Areas (82)

Areas where the landscape itself is seen as special or beautiful can be designated as landscape preservation area. It is then protected against development that will radically change the landscape itself. Traditional agricultural use can continue as before.

Natural Monuments (101)

Other Protected Areas (76)

Of particular interest is Svalbard, which has 60% of its land mass protected (including 3 national parks).

Protection plans

According to the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management (1), 17(!) new national parks are planned, plus 18 other protected areas. In addition, 14 existing national parks will be expanded. These plans are to be carried out before 2008, and will increase the protected areas in Norway to 10-15% of the land area.


  1. Official homepages of Norwegian Environmental Authorities, Directorate for Nature Management, http://english.dirnat.no/
  2. "State of the Environment", Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, http://www.environment.no

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