Rondane National Park
|Rondane National Park|
|Area||963 km2 (372 sq mi)|
|Established||21 December 1962|
|Governing body||Directorate for Nature Management|
Rondane National Park (Norwegian: Rondane nasjonalpark) is the oldest national park in Norway, having been established on 21 December 1962. The park is located in Innlandet county, in the municipalities of Dovre, Folldal, Sel, Nord-Fron, Sør-Fron, Stor-Elvdal, and Ringebu. The park contains ten peaks above 2,000 metres (6,560 ft), with the highest being Rondeslottet at an altitude of 2,178 m (7,146 ft). The park is an important habitat for herds of wild reindeer.
The park was enlarged in 2003, and now covers an area of 963 km2 (372 sq mi). Rondane lies just to the east of the Gudbrandsdalen valley and two other mountain areas, Dovre and Jotunheimen are nearby. Dovre National Park lies a very short distance to the north of this park.
Rondane is a typical high mountain area, with large plateaus and a total of ten peaks above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). The highest point is Rondeslottet ("The Rondane Castle") at an altitude of 2,178 metres (7,146 ft). The lowest point is just below the tree line, which is located at approximately 1,000 to 1,100 metres (3,300 to 3,600 ft) above sea level. The climate is mild but relatively arid. Apart from the white birch trees of the lower areas, the soil and rocks are covered by heather and lichen, since they lack nutrients. The largest mountains are almost entirely barren; above 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) nothing but the hardiest lichens grow on the bare stones.
The mountains are divided by marked valleys through the landscape; the deepest valley is filled by Rondvatnet, a narrow lake filling the steep space between the large Storronden–Rondeslottet massif and Smiubelgen ("The blacksmith's bellows"). The central massif is also cut by "botns": flat, dead stone valleys below the steep mountain walls of the peaks. Generally, Rondane does not receive enough precipitation to generate persistent glaciers, but glacier-like heaps of snow can be found in the flat back valleys.
At the centre of the park lies the lake Rondvatnet, from which all the peaks above 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in elevation can be reached in less than one day's walk. In this central region and north of it, the altitude is quite high compared with the flatter plateaus of the south. Rondane has ten peaks over 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) including:
- Rondeslottet, 2,178 metres (7,146 ft)
- Storronden, 2,138 metres (7,014 ft)
- Høgronden, 2,114 metres (6,936 ft)
- Midtronden western summit, 2,060 metres (6,760 ft)
- Vinjeronden, 2,044 metres (6,706 ft)
- Midtronden eastern summit, 2,042 metres (6,699 ft)
- Trolltinden, 2,018 metres (6,621 ft)
- Storsmeden, 2,016 metres (6,614 ft)
- Digerronden, 2,015 metres (6,611 ft)
- Veslesmeden, 2,015 metres (6,611 ft)
In many parts of the park, there are spread-out holes (kettle holes) created by small remains of ice age glaciers, and peculiar small hills called "eskers" made by ground moraine released by melting glaciers.
The history of life in the area of the park begins at the end of the latest ice age. Large climate changes allowed reindeer to spread widely across Scandinavia, only to be forced back to a much smaller area — including the Rondane mountain area — only some hundreds of years later. Archaeologists have found that the forest quickly grew at high altitudes; birch trees found at 1,030 metres (3,380 ft) were 8500 years old.
On the mountain plateaux, there is evidence that nomadic hunter-gatherers lived off reindeer. Large traps used to catch reindeer can be found at Gravhø and Bløyvangen and are also spread all throughout the park. These are constructed from stone to make holes or large fenced-in areas into which reindeer could be tricked or led.
In conjunction with these large traps, there are also small arched stone walls which are believed to have been used as hiding places for archers waiting for prey. Various dating methods have suggested that the earliest traps may be as old as 3500 years. Most of the findings, including remains of houses, date back to the years between 500 and 700 AD. It is thus known with confidence that the large traps and accompanying walls were used from the 6th century until the onset of the Black Death in the 14th century.
After nearly a decade of planning, Rondane was established as the first Norwegian National Park on 21 December 1962. It was first established as a nature protection area, but was later named a national park. The main reasons for protecting the park were "to safeguard the natural environment with its native plants, animal life, and cultural heritage and also to secure the environment as a recreational area for future generations".
Legal efforts to protect nature in Norway date from 1954, when the nature protection law was passed. Soon after, in 1955, community meetings were held in the municipalities close to Rondane, and a commission was founded. Norman Heitkøtter was president of the commission, and made it possible by Royal resolution to establish Rondane National Park. At its establishment, the park covered an area of 580 km2 (224 sq mi) (later, this was nearly doubled).
Although Rondane was the first national park in Norway, many others followed. The parks are maintained by the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management.
As a special measure for the protection of the wild reindeer, the park was significantly enlarged in 2003, its area increasing from 580 square kilometres (220 sq mi) to 963 square kilometres (372 sq mi). The park was enlarged mainly to the north-west, and slightly in the east and south. In addition, areas with lesser protection (landscape protection as well as nature protection areas) were established in connection with the park. A new national park, Dovre National Park, between Rondane and Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park was also opened. Following the expansion, it is now only approximately 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) from the northern border of Rondane to the southern border of Dovre National Park, and large sections of adjacent mountain areas are protected by the three parks.
The bedrock in Rondane comes from a shallow sea floor, created 500 to 600 million years ago. From this, changes in the Earth's crust created a mountain area of metamorphic rock and quartz. There are no fossils found in Rondane today and so it is thought the sea where the rock came from contained no animal life.
The present landscape was mostly formed by the last ice age, nine to ten thousand years ago. At that time large quantities of ice were formed, and it is believed that the ice melted gradually in shifting cycles of melting and ice accumulation. The ice melting must have been rapid when it happened, digging deep river valleys.
Rondane is one of the few places in Scandinavia and Europe where wild reindeer (as opposed to the domestic breed) are found. The Directorate for Nature Management regards Rondane as "especially important as a life supporting area for the native reindeer". It is estimated that approximately 2000 to 4000 reindeer live in Rondane and the nearby Dovre area. To protect the reindeer population in their core area, during the last ten years[update] hiking trails have been moved. The park was also enlarged in 2003 to provide increased protection for the reindeer.
Other large game, including roe deer and elk (moose) are commonplace along the rims of the park and occasionally musk ox from Dovre can be seen. Wolverines, lynxes, and a small population of bears are also present, while wolves are rare.
The reindeer largely rely on the lichen and reindeer moss that grow together with heather and hardy grass on the quite arid and nutrient-poor stony plateaus. The lichen provide food for the reindeer, but also fertilize the earth, making it possible for less hardy plants to grow, and mice and lemmings to feed. One of the flower species to survive very well is the Glacier Crowfoot, found up to an elevation of 1,700 metres (5,600 ft).
Visitors to Rondane are free to hike and camp in all areas of the park, except in the immediate vicinity of cabins. Apart from being closed for motor traffic, not many special regulations apply. Fishing and hunting is available to licensees.
The Norwegian Mountain Touring Association (DNT) is an association that owns and manages a network of mountain cabins in the service of hikers. In Rondane, there is a central cabin by the southern end of the lake Rondvatnet, Rondvassbu. There is also Dørålseter and Bjørnhollia at the northern and eastern rims of the park. All three cabins are manned, and provide food and limited accommodation (possible to book beforehand). There are also un-manned cabins in the Park, like Eldåbu where a key is needed.
DNT also mark trails in the Park, with red Ts that are easy to spot. The T-trails lead the way cabin-to-cabin, as well as marking the path to some of the peaks close to Rondvatnet. Recently, some of the trails have moved slightly to avoid the core areas of the wild reindeer.
The service cabins are also open during the winter season, although they are sometimes only self-serviced off season. Ski trails are marked and sometimes prepared, either by DNT or some of the hotels and skiing resorts close to the park.
The Rondane Høyfjellshotell is located just 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) east of Otta and is the closest hotel to the Rondane National Park, being only 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) away. Environmentally-friendly energy is created by the hotel through its own hydropower plant. The hotel has a total of 210 beds in 50 rooms, 4 apartments and 10 cabins. Amenities include a gym, spa, pool, sauna, and restaurant. The hotel also has opportunities for physical activities including biking, hiking, cross country skiing, and rafting. There is also the capacity for conferences and parties at the hotel.
The hotel was built in 1939 and burned down in 1961. In 1963 a new hotel was opened to guests. The existing building has 3,385 square metres (36,440 sq ft) on 3 floors. In 2016 there were renovations works at the hotel with significant upgrades to the spa, pool, and common areas. Most of the rooms were refurbished, as well as the bathroom of those rooms.
Rondane in literature
- Act 2, Scene lV
- (Among the Ronde mountains. Sunset. Shining snowpeaks all around.
- Peer Gynt enters, dizzy and bewildered.)
- Tower over tower arises!
Hei, what a glittering gate!
Stand! Will you stand! It's drifting
further and further away!
- Tower over tower arises!
With this scene, Ibsen wrote Rondane into one of the 19th centuries better-known plays and made Rondane a symbol for Norway.
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, writer and gatherer of Norwegian folk tales in the mid-19th century, collected many stories connected with Rondane, including Peer Gynt, the story that inspired Ibsen. A third writer who set one of his famous works in Rondane is the poet Aasmund Olavsson Vinje with his poem Ved Rundarne.
Rondane is the finite plural of the word rond. Several mountains in the area have the ending -ronden (Digerronden, Høgronden, Midtronden, Storronden and Vinjeronden), and this is the finite singular of the same word. The word rond was probably originally the name of the long and narrow lake Rondvatnet ('Rond water/lake') - and the mountains around were then named after this lake. For the meaning see under Randsfjorden.
- Tourism in Norway
- Norwegian Trekking Association
- List of national parks of Norway
- Dovre National Park
- Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park
- Peer Gynt
- Ryvarden, Leif, ed. (27 October 2021). "Rondane nasjonalpark". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
- Barth, Edvard K (1984). Rondane (in Norwegian). Oslo: Gyldendal norsk forlag. ISBN 8205133158.
- "Rondane National Park" (in Norwegian). Directorate for Nature Management. 26 September 2004. Archived from the original on 26 September 2004.
- "The wild reindeer areas in Norway". Villrein.no. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
- Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management on Rondane[permanent dead link]
- Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management map of Rondane
- Images from Rondane
- Rondane Høyfjellshotell