National parks are usually meant to preserve a particularly beautiful or unique piece of nature, but Norway is hoping the latest expansions to its nationally recognized lands will also serve the purpose of combating climate change.
The Scandinavian country recently announced that it would create 10 new national parks by adding four entirely new parklands and upgrading six landscape conservation areas to national parks. Norway also plans to expand eight already existing national parks.
Loss of biodiversity due to development and intervention is one of the biggest challenges in the world,” said Sveinung Rotevatn, Norway’s minister of climate and the environment, in a press release, adding that Norway is no exception to the impacts of this threat to nature.
“Therefore, the government now wants to initiate more protection processes where both the local municipalities and the Norwegian Environment Agency recommend that a national park be built,” Rotevatn said.
The four new national parks — all located in western Norway — will be Hornelen in Bremanger; Masfjordfjella in Masfjorden and Alver; Øystesefjella in Kvam, Samnanger, and Vaksdal; and the Sunnmøre Alps in Ørsta. The expanded national parks will include Rohkunborri, Blåfjella-Skjækerfjella, Skarvan-Roltdalen, Femundsmarka, Dovre, Jostedalsbreen, Jotunheimen, and Raet.
Jotunheimen is already among the country’s most popular national parks as it’s home to the Jotunheimen mountain range, which not only has Norway’s tallest mountains, but also the highest peaks in Northern Europe.
The national park status is the foremost quality mark we can give a piece of Norwegian nature. That an area becomes a national park means that [it] has very special natural values that we believe it is especially important that Norway protects and takes care of for the future,” said Rotevatn.
Norway currently has 47 national parks, including some that are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites for both their cultural and natural heritage.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.