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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.




ÅNDERDALEN NATIONAL PARK

County: Troms

Established: 1970

Extended: 2004

Size: 125 km2





Varied coastal landscape in the north

Ånderdalen National Park on the island of Senja is a characteristic coastal landscape in Troms. The surrounding mountains influence much of the Ånderdalen valley; barren mountains with heaths and scattered birches on their lower slopes. Between the mountains there are several lakes and broad rivers with raging rapids and waterfalls. At first sight, the pine woodland seems to be on the verge of dying, but when taking a closer look one can also see a scattering of younger and healthier trees. Some of the trees, however, are nearly 500 years old.

The vegetation contains few species, but includes some rare orchids. Elks thrive in Ånderdalen, and in some reaches of the rivers there are salmon, sea trout and sea char. An extension of the National Park westwards is in planning.




Rich trout fishing

Hikers will find some marked trails. The Åndervatnet lake has an abundance of trout, and in some reaches of the rivers there are salmon, sea trout and sea char. Be sure to get a fishing license.




Barren mountains and sparse woodland

Furthest north in Ånderdalen the peaks of Kaperfjellet and Tverfjellet are situated. Here, the valley is narrow, and the river flowing southwards into Kapervatnet is flanked by steep mountainsides. This long and narrow lake, bordered by very open birch woodland, is drained by a river flowing southwards through a narrow gorge to another lake, Åndervatnet.

Here, the landscape widens being flanked by the mountains of Skogfjell in the east, Kolkjerka in the north and Blåfjellet in the southwest. The slopes bordering the lake are wooded, and drained by innumerable streams. The river Ånderelva starts at the southern end of Åndervatnet, firstly flowing through a hummocky landscape dominated by huge rocks, and thereafter in waterfalls and rapids into the depths of wooded gorges. After a few kilometres at the end of the national park, the river ends into the sea at Tranøybotn.




Sparse vegetation

Relatively few species of vegetation are recorded in Ånderdalen, because the bedrock mainly consists of light coloured and hard granite that produce poor soil when it weathers. I addition, the high precipitation and low temperatures ensure that the hardiest species thrive here. In the lowest parts of the national park there are open woodland with old and often twisted pine trees.

Here, the woodland floor is mainly covered by ericaceous plants and other species that are well adjusted to tolerate dry conditions. Along the river sides and other damp sites, there are also some aspens, grey alders and birches, as well as herbs and grasses.

Above 100 metres altitude, the pinewood gradually gives way to typical montane birch woodland. Here, the woodland floor is also dominated by ericaceous plants and grasses, and tall herbs like meadowsweet, wood cranes-bill, globeflower and alpine blue-sow-thistle can be observed at moisture places.

The marshes in Ånderdalen are poor in nutrients, and peat mosses, sedges and cottongrass dominate. However, the plant life is richer on their margins and beside streams, and alpine bartsia, marsh violet, Grass-of-Parnassus and heath spotted-orchid can be found. The rare ghost orchid and coralroot orchid also occur at places.

Above the tree line, approximately at 300 metres altitude, poor heaths with heather, crowberry and bilberry dominate. Dense willow thickets generally line the rivers and streams in the higher parts. The typical coastal alpine plant diapensia, is a characteristic species in stony sites towards the peaks.




Relatively rich

Ånderdalen has a relatively rich bird life; hooded crows, redpolls, bramblings, willow warblers and several species of thrushes and tits being the most common woodland birds. Ravens, wheatears, meadow pipits and snow buntings are seen on the higher ground, and in the willow thickets there are bluethroats and reed buntings. Mallards and wigeons are the most common ducks in the national park.

On the marshes, there are both curlews and whimbrels, while dippers and common sandpipers nest beside the rivers. Ånderdalen has also a varying population of willow grouse and some birds of prey. Grey-lag geese, whooper swans, waxwings, treecreepers, green woodpeckers and crossbills are regular visitors, but do not nest in the park.




Elk migration in the 1940s

In Ånderdalen there is a permanent stock of elks, which migrated into the area in the 1940s. Semi-domesticated reindeer pass through the valley on migration between their summer and winter grazings. Other mammals common in the park are red foxes, stoats, hares, some species of mice and two kinds of voles. Otters are often seen along the river.

The winter in Ånderdalen is really too cold for amphibians, but frogs have succeeded in establishing themselves. Three-spined sticklebacks, trout and char are common in the lakes and rivers within the protected area, and salmon run up the lower stretch of Ånderelva river.




Coastal Sami on Senja island

To our knowledge, no man has ever lived in Ånderdalen, and the nature is largely pristine. The coastal Sami people lived at Senja before the year 1600 AC, and Ånderdalen has surely been a valuable area for their hunting and fishing. Timber has been felled in in the lower parts of Ånderdalen.







OPPLAND


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Jotunheimen
Ormtjernkampen
Rondane



HEDMARK


Dovre
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Gutulia
Rondane



BUSKERUD


Hardangervidda


TELEMARK


Hardangervidda


HORDALAND


Hardangervidda
Folgefonna



SOGN & FJORDANE


Jostedalsbreen
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