Little Bits of History

Norway

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 21, 2013
Rondane National Park

Rondane National Park

December 21, 1962: Norway’s first national park is established. Rondane National Park covers 372 square miles since its expansion in 2003. The Park lies in central Norway and the closest city is Otta. The park is high plateaus and mountains. There are 10 peaks above 6,560 feet. The highest peak is Rondeslottet, which means The Rondane Castle, and is 7,146 feet above sea level. The lowest point is just below the tree line (about 3,300 to 3,600 feet above sea level).

Due to the altitude, there is a limited variety of plant and animal life. White Birch and some pine trees grow where possible. Above the tree line heather and lichen grow. At elevations above 5,000 feet only a few of the hardiest lichen can survive. The mountains are separated by valleys and in the deepest of these Rondvatnet nestles. The lake is narrow and fills the space between Storronden-Rondeslottet and Smiubelgen. There is little precipitation in the region. True glaciers do not exist. There are glacier-like piles of snow in some of the valleys.

The area’s history begins with the end of the last Ice Age. Reindeer spread across Scandinavia and then the herds contracted again. They have been in the Rondane region for 40,000 to 50,000 years. Hunter-gatherers followed the herds to central Norway. These early settlers used large traps to capture deer. The earliest traps have been found to be 3,500 years old and the same type of traps had been used up until the 1700s. There are also remains of stone walls found by archaeologists. They are believed to have been used as protection for archers hiding in wait for prey. House ruins in the region date from 500 to 700 AD. The area was populated until the Black Death arrived in the 1300s.

The harsh environment limits the ecology of the region. Nevertheless, there are 124 varieties of birds and 28 different mammals who live within the Park. There are 240 varieties of plants, 160 types of mosses, and 160 species of higher lichen. The park offers a variety of paths to hike or for more strenuous outings, there are several beautiful mountains to climb. While enjoying the beauty of the area, you might also spy one of the reindeer from the oldest herds in the region.

“Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions.” – Antoinette Brown Blackwell

“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” – Aristotle

“Mountains inspire awe in any human person who has a soul. They remind us of our frailty, our unimportance, of the briefness of our span upon this earth. They touch the heavens, and sail serenely at an altitude beyond even the imaginings of a mere mortal.” – Elizabeth Aston

This article first appeared at examiner.com in 2009. Editor’s update: Norway has 43 national parks today. Seven of these parks are located on Svalbard, an archipelago located in the Arctic ocean. From Adnerdalen to Ytre Hvaler the parks contain a variety of habitats. There are also plans for seven more parks. In the 1960s, two more parks were established. Many more were opened in the 1970s and some in the 1980s followed. Only one was opened in the 1990s and since the turn of the millennium, 25 have been established with the last opening just this year. The smallest park is Gutulia which covers slightly less than 9 square miles. The largest, Sør-Spitsbergen, covers 5,130 square miles. Most of these parks are open to hiking, cross-country skiing, and camping. There are a limited number of overnight cabins available. Not only does Norway offer a wide range of National Parks, but they have protected landscapes and nature reserves as well.

Also on this day: Can You Use Ink? – In 1913, Arthur Wynn invented the crossword puzzle.
Four in One Year – In 69 AD, Vespasian became Emperor of Rome.
Honor – In 1861, the Medal of Honor was instituted.

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