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Norway´s National Parks are regulated by the laws of nature. Nature decides both how and when to do things. National Parks are established in order to protect large natural areas - from the coast to the mountains. This is done for our sake, for generations to come and for the benefit of nature itself.




JOSTEDALSBREEN NATIONAL PARK

Counties: Sogn & Fjordane

Established: 1991

Size: 1310 km2





The largest ice-sheet in mainland Europe

Jostedalsbreen National Park has an enormous variety of natural environments ranging from deciduous forest on the lower land to glaciers and bare mountains. The ice-sheet stretches for 60 km, covering almost half the park. The glaciers, glacial rivers and moraines, plus the cultural landscape of the mountain summer pastures represent important preservation values.




Attractive recreation area

This has long been regarded as an attractive area for walkers and hikers. Skiing the length of the glacier has become popular in recent years, often taking in the highest point of Lodalskåpa. Without specialist knowledge and proper equipment, however, walking or skiing on the glacier is highly dangerous.

The old routes in the valleys around the glacier, such as Oldeskardet and Supphelleskardet, offer exciting walking tours. The valley glaciers of Briksdal, Fjærland and Nigardsbreen are well-known and paths lead right to the glacier in many places, including Kjenndalen and Austerdalen.

Accommodation can be found at camping sites, boarding houses and hotels in the valleys surrounding the National Park, or at tourist cabins within the park - a few hours hike from the road.




A landscape formed by ice and water

U-shaped valleys, moraines, polished rock faces, outwash plains, boulder-strewn fields and scree slopes - a landscape formed over thousands of years by ice and water and still constantly changing. Gushing streams, rivers and waterfalls high up on the mountain sides or down in the valleys are the hallmark of the area, especially the Stryn and Loen river systems.

Many valley glaciers

Jostedalsbreen is a glacial icesheet with many valley glaciers, rising from 300 metres to 2000 metres. Practically half the National Park is covered by ice. It is one of the largest remaining areas of undisturbed landscape in Southern Norway and therefore important for both nature conservancy and recreation.

Tindefjellbreen is a glacier in Stryn. The 20 square-kilometre glacier lies about 4 kilometres east of the mountain Skåla, roughly halfway between Bødalen and Erdalen. The glacier is in the mountains east of the Lovatnet lake and south of Oppstrynsvatn lake. The glacier is part of Jostedalsbreen National Park, about 10 kilometres east of Loen.

Changing weather

Glaciers are formed when the annual snowfall exceeds the amount which melts in summer. It can be cold, cloudy and windy on the glacier, while in the surrounding valleys the weather is warm, sunny and calm. It may snow even in summer on the glacier.

Farms obliterated

Recent research has shown that 8,000 - 5,000 years ago the Jostedal glacier had completely melted, but it formed again, reaching a new peak in the "little ice-age" around 1750. Many valley farms were destroyed by advancing ice, as at Nigard, or when huge blocks of ice broke away, as at Tungøyane in Oldedalen when the Brenndal glacier calved.




From fertile valleysÊ to ice and barren mountain

The enormous range of environmental types over short distances is due to variations in local climate and altitude. Elm, lime and warm-loving plants like Broad Helleborine and Spring Pea thrive on the wooded lower slopes, while directly above at 1500 metres there are arctic-alpine plants such as Glacier Crowfoot and Loiseleuria.

At the front of the valley glacier Purple Saxifrage and Starwort Mouse-ear Chickweed are among the first to appear, adding colour to the grey landscape.




An important highway in bygone days

In the past, tracks and droveroads crossed the great Jostedal ice-sheet, linking the western valleys and fjords with the inland districts of Sogn and south-east Norway. Cattle and horses were driven across the glacier to be sold in the markets in the east. This would be difficult today as the ice-sheet has shrunk and is therefore steeper and has more crevasses.

The cultural landscape with its farms, shielings, and copses of birch show that man has long subsisted "under the glacier" and land is still farmed in the settlements around the national park. However, the tradition of moving with the cattle up to the mountain pastures in the summer has only survived in one or two places.




 

OPPLAND


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Jotunheimen
Ormtjernkampen
Rondane



HEDMARK


Dovre
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Gutulia
Rondane



BUSKERUD


Hardangervidda


TELEMARK


Hardangervidda


HORDALAND


Hardangervidda
Folgefonna



SOGN & FJORDANE


Jostedalsbreen
Tindefjellbreen
Jotunheimen



MØRE & ROMSDAL


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella


SØR TRØNDELAG


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Skarvan and Roltdalen



NORD TRØNDELAG


Blåfjella-Skjækerfjella
Børgefjell
Lierne
Skarvan and Roltdalen



NORDLAND


Børgefjell
Junkerdal
Møysalen
Rago
Saltfjellet - Svartisen



TROMS


Reisa
Øvre Dividal
Ånderdalen



FINNMARK


Stabbursdalen
Øvre Anarjohka
Øvre Pasvik



SVALBARD


Forlandet
Nordenskiøld Land
Nordre Isfjorden
Nordvest-Spitsbergen
Sassen-Bunsow Land
Sør-Spitsbergen