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Hardangervidda national park, Norway
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Norway is creating ten (yes, ten) new national parks

The Scandinavian country has plans to protect nearly a third of its land by 2030

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Norway’s got a heck of a lot of outstanding natural beauty. And we’re not just talking fjords: the Norwegian landscape varies from vast mountain ranges and lush rolling hills to towering waterfalls and desolate plains. And soon a whole load of those gorgeous landforms are set to become new national parks.

In a bid to protect its landscapes from climate change, Norway is planning to create ten new national parks along its western edge. Four of them will be brand new, while six will see currently designated conservation areas upgraded into full-blown national parks.

It’s all part of an effort to protect 30 percent of Norwegian land by 2030 – and it isn’t just Norway that has made that pledge. Over 100 other countries have said they’ll do the same as part of the ‘30x30’ initiative, which also applies to protecting oceans.

All of which might sound a bit over-ambitious – until, that is, you realise just how far Norway has already come in conserving and protecting its areas of natural beauty. The country currently has 47 national parks, which cover about 17 percent of Norwegian land. So what’s another 13 percent?

Official national park status will provide more legal backing for conservationists, making it much harder for people to build on the land and ensuring that the government or local authorities keep an eye on habitats and pollution levels.

Norway has a conflicted relationship with the environment – one the one hand, it’s the undisputed world capital of electric cars; on the other, a significant portion of the country’s economy comes from drilling oil in the North Sea. But it’s still impressive to see conservation efforts like this put into action.

The brand-new national parks that are set to be established by 2030, subject to approval by their local municipalities, are:

  • Hornelen National Park, Bremanger
  • Masfjordfjella National Park, Masfjorden and Alver
  • Øystesefjella National Park, Kvam, Samnanger, and Vaksdal
  • Sunnmøre Alps, Ørsta 

While the conservation areas due to be upgraded to national parks are: 

  • Ålfotbreen, Vestland
  • Flekkefjord-Listastrendene, Agder
  • Lyngsalpan Alps, Lynge, Balsfjord and Storfjord
  • Oksøy-Ryvingen, Agder
  • Sylan, Trøndelag
  • Trollheimen, Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal

ICMYI: Edvard Munch’s countryside retreat near Oslo is now a super luxurious hotel.

Plus: Europe’s last surviving ‘wild river’ will be made a national park.

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