Lake Eriksvann is a popular recreational destination in the new Østmarka National Park. Photo Credit: KLD

Environment Norway4. January 2024

On the Doorstep of a Capital City, a National Park Is Born

The forest to the east and southeast of Oslo, Norway’s capital, gained the recognition and protection of National Park status, a significant achievement in preserving the country’s important lowlands.

Despite the lengthy process, the park’s approval is a “fantastic news that we’ve waited a long time to get,” as Helga Gunnarsdóttir, chairman of Østmarkas Venner (Friends of Østmarka) puts it.

First proposed in 2012, the Østmarka National Park project was greenlit once the plan was adjusted to include only publicly owned and managed areas. Østmarka – “The Eastern Forest” in Norwegian – is a gorgeous region with a rich history of forestry, farming, and outdoor activities. Bordered by Oslo, Lørenskog, Rælingen, Enebakk, and Nordre Follo, Østmarka has been a natural escape for residents and visitors alike for a long time. Out of the 71 km2 of protected nature, the Østmarka National Park spans 53.9 km2 and includes a nature preserve and the already established recreational area called “Spinneren.” Norway has 47 National Parks, mainly in remote areas like the Jotunheimen mountains. An additional 3,200 areas have some form of protection. More than 17% of mainland Norway receives protection in one form or another.

Life in Norway

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