Sarek

( Sarek National Park )

Sarek National Park (Swedish: Sareks nationalpark) is a national park in Jokkmokk Municipality, Lapland in northern Sweden. Established in 1909, the park is among the oldest national parks in Europe. It is adjacent to two other national parks, namely Stora Sjöfallet and Padjelanta. The shape of Sarek National Park is roughly circular with an average diameter of about 50 km (31.07 mi).

The most noted features of the national park are six of Sweden's thirteen peaks over 2,000 m (6,600 ft) located within the park's boundaries. Among these is the second highest mountain in Sweden, Sarektjåkkå, whilst the massif Áhkká is located just outside the park. The park has about 200 peaks over 1,800 m (5,900 ft), 82 of which have names. Sarek is also the name of a geographical area which the national park is part of. The Sarek mountain district includes a total of eight peaks over 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Due to the long trek, the mountains in the district are seldom cli...Read more

Sarek National Park (Swedish: Sareks nationalpark) is a national park in Jokkmokk Municipality, Lapland in northern Sweden. Established in 1909, the park is among the oldest national parks in Europe. It is adjacent to two other national parks, namely Stora Sjöfallet and Padjelanta. The shape of Sarek National Park is roughly circular with an average diameter of about 50 km (31.07 mi).

The most noted features of the national park are six of Sweden's thirteen peaks over 2,000 m (6,600 ft) located within the park's boundaries. Among these is the second highest mountain in Sweden, Sarektjåkkå, whilst the massif Áhkká is located just outside the park. The park has about 200 peaks over 1,800 m (5,900 ft), 82 of which have names. Sarek is also the name of a geographical area which the national park is part of. The Sarek mountain district includes a total of eight peaks over 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Due to the long trek, the mountains in the district are seldom climbed. There are approximately 100 glaciers in Sarek National Park.

Sarek is a popular area for hikers and mountaineers. Beginners in these disciplines are advised to accompany a guide since there are no marked trails or accommodations and only two bridges aside from those in the vicinity of its borders. The area is among those that receives the heaviest rainfall in Sweden, making hiking dependent on weather conditions. It is also intersected by turbulent streams that are hazardous to cross without proper training.

The delta of the Rapa River is considered one of Europe's most noted views and the summit of mount Skierfe offers an overlook of that ice-covered, glacial, through valley.

The Pårte Scientific Station in Sarek (also known as the Pårte observatory) was built in the early 1900s by Swedish mineralogist and geographer Axel Hamberg. All the building material for the huts had to be carried to the site by porters.

The Sami people  Mount Skierfe (right) is a sacred Sami site

The region's first inhabitants arrived with the retreat of the inland seas 8,000 years ago.[1] They were nomads who lived in Northern Scandinavia, and probably ancestors of the Samis.[1] Initially they were hunter-gatherers, living off reindeer.[2] For those people, the mountains often had religious connotations, and several were Sieidi (places of worship).[3] Offerings, such as antlers from reindeer, were often made in those places.[3] One of the most significant Sieidi was situated at the foot of Mount Skierfe (1,179 m (3,868 ft) high), at the entrance to the Rapa Valley.[3] Samis from the entire region gathered in this place for ceremonies.[3] Mount Apär itself, was believed to be the home of demons and legend tells of an illegitimate child's ghost inside it.[4]

Despite their hunter-gatherer way of life, the Samis kept some domesticated reindeer. They were milked and used for transport as well as other things.[5] Towards the end of the 17th century, the number of domesticated reindeer increased, and the Samis began to harmonize their travelling with the reindeer's search for pasture. Eventually, hunting the reindeer gave way to farming them.[5] The Samis in the mountains gradually developed a system of transhumance (movement between fixed summer and winter pastures).[5] They spent the winters on the park's plains and moved up into the mountains in summer, mainly to Padjelanta.[6] Sarek was mostly used as a corridor for travels, although certain prairies (Skarja and Peilavalta in particular) were used for pasture.[6] For shelter during their long journeys, which could last for several weeks, the inhabitants built huts (kåta) at selected places in the park.[7] Little by little, they left the reindeer to graze as they pleased, and stopped moving with the herds in the old way.[5]

Sarek and the Swedes  A Sami home near Pårek

When the Swedish government took control over the Sami territory, the Sami had to pay the same taxes as other Swedes.[8] In the 17th century the Sami were evangelized by the Swedes, who often built churches and markets in locations where the Sami traditionally stayed during winter.[8]

The Swedes considered the mountains to be frightening and dangerous so they did not explore them.[9] When the first ore deposits were discovered in the region, the Swedes attempted to persuade the Sami to prospect for other ores in the mountains, in particular silver.[10] But in general, the Sami did not dare to reveal such information to the Swedes because they did not want to incur the disapproval of their fellow Sami.[10] An ore discovery was likely to result in the Sami being forced into near-slavery, working the mines and transporting the minerals.[10] The Alkavare deposit was an exception. Its existence was revealed to the Swedes by an extremely poor Sami, who became held in disdain by his tribe due to this.[10] The exploitation of the mine began in 1672, but it never rendered any profit and was abandoned in 1702.[10] A few attempts to reopen the mine has been made, but they have not been successful.[10] The ruins of two buildings and a little chapel are visible nearby the site.[10]

The first Swede to scientifically explore the mountains was Carl von Linné in his expedition to Lapland in 1732.[9] Later, in 1870, Gustaf Wilhelm Bucht mapped the region.[11] Shortly after, in 1881, the Frenchman Charles Rabot became the first man to reach the summit of Sarektjåkkå.[11] The 1890s marked the start of systematic scientific expeditions.[12] Most noted is the work of Axel Hamberg, who had participated in an expedition to Greenland led by Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld. Hamberg began his study of the region in 1895.[12] He studied the park, chiefly the glaciers, until his death in 1931.[12] He created a high quality map and constructed five cabins in the park, known as the Pårte station, where he conducted his studies of Sarek.[12] Axel Hamburg's work was particularly significant for widespread public recognition of the park.[12]

Protection

The 1872 creation of the world's first national park in Yellowstone[13] started a universal momentum for the protection of nature. In Sweden, the polar explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld became the first to propose using the new concept to protect areas of the Swedish landscape.[14] Axel Hamburg, Nordenskiöld and other scientists organized a plea for establishing Sweden's first national parks, Sarek in particular.[14] They convinced the Swedish botanist and member of the Riksdag Karl Starbäck from Uppsala University to raise the question in the Riksdag.[14] The proposition was accepted in May 1909, and the first nine national parks were established.[14] These were also the first in Europe. Among them were Sarek and its neighbour the Stora Sjöfallet.[15] The reason given for establishing the park was, as stated in official protocols, to "preserve a high mountain landscape in its natural state".[16]

In the middle of the 20th century, with developments in hydroelectricity in Sweden, dams were frequently built across the northern rivers of Sweden.[17] These barrages were also constructed in the national parks; the Stora Sjöfallet National Park lost nearly a third of its land area with the creation of a dam in 1919.[13] In 1961, an accord called the "Sarek peace" (Freden i Sarek) was forged, preventing hydroelectric developments in Sarek as well as in certain rivers, designated "national rivers".[18] This also led to the establishing of Padjelanta National Park.[18]

 The borders of the park

In 1982, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) mentioned a vast zone including Sarek National Park in its tentative list of natural sites to be classified as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.[19] Sweden proposed that part of this zone, the Sjaunja nature reserve, should be included in the list, and in 1990 the IUCN recommended an extension to the proposed area.[19] In 1996, Sarek Park was classed as a World Heritage Site including the adjoining areas of Padjelanta, Stora Sjöfallet, Sjaunja and Stubba nature reserves, Muddus National Park and three adjacent areas, making a total of 9,400 km2 (3,600 sq mi). The whole area was added to the World Heritage as a mixed site ("of cultural and natural value") called the Laponian area.[2] The park also became part of the Natura 2000 network.[20] Being on the World Heritage list allowed the park to have its first protection plan. The plan was written with thorough consultation of the Sami, who had not been consulted when the park was established.[21] The WWF paid for this process.[21]

The 2007 Environmental Protection Agency plan for the national parks includes a plan to expand Sarek to incorporate the area of the Laitaure Delta and the Tjuoltadalen Valley to the south part of the park.[22] This extension had already been proposed in the 1989 plan, but the situation changed with the World Heritage designation as the proposed extension would make up a sizable part of the Laponian Region.[22]

History of tourism

Sarek National Park is viewed by many Swedes as one of the most beautiful landscapes of their country. The enthusiasm for it was started by Axel Hamberg's book on the park, presenting Sarek as the joy of the Swedish Lapland.[23]

The Swedish Tourist Association (STF) was created in 1885. In 1886, they mentioned Sarek as a potential tourist site for the first time.[24] However, the number of tourists was not more than a few dozen.[24] In 1900, the association studied the possibility of creating a long hiking trail crossing the Lapland mountains, between Abisko and Kvikkjokk.[25] The initial proposal was for a marked trail that passed through the park, a boat crossing of the Rapaselet and a mountain hut beside the river.[23][25] The project was abandoned and the STF concentrated mostly on Kebnekaise and Sylan.[23] The trail (Kungsleden) was built, but only coming close to the park in the southeast corner of it.[26]

In 1946, Dag Hammarskjöld popularised the expression "vår sista stora vildmark" ("our last great wilderness").[17] Dag Hammarskjöld advocated a growing tourism in the park, that took care not to damage the environment.[17] Edvin Nilsson's 1970 book on the park strengthened its reputation, increasing the number of tourists from two or three hundred in the 1960s, to 2,000 in 1971.[27] This sudden success caused several problems such as the temporary overcrowding on certain trails in the Rapa Valley, which were not designed to accommodate so many visitors.[27]

^ a b Kihlberg 1997, p. 30 ^ a b "Région de Laponie". Patrimoine mondial de l'UNESCO (in French and English). Retrieved 30 October 2011. ^ a b c d Kihlberg 1997, pp. 31–32 ^ Kihlberg 1997, p. 34 ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference laponia was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Abrahamsson 1993, p. 14 ^ Abrahamsson 1993, p. 23 ^ a b "Historia i Laponia" (PDF). Laponia (in Swedish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2004. Retrieved 30 October 2011. ^ a b Abrahamsson 1993, p. 26 ^ a b c d e f g "The Alkavare Silver Mine…". Laplandica. Retrieved 30 October 2011. ^ a b Abrahamsson 1993, p. 27 ^ a b c d e Abrahamsson 1993, pp. 28–29 ^ a b Grundsten, Claes (2010). Max Ström (ed.). National parks of Sweden. Stockholm. ISBN 978-91-7126-160-1.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) ^ a b c d "Allting om Jokkmokk" (PDF). Jokkmokks kommun (in Swedish). Retrieved 31 October 2011. ^ "Les parcs nationaux dans le monde". Parcs nationaux (in French). Retrieved 31 October 2011. ^ "Förordning om ändring i nationalparksförordningen (1987:938)" (PDF). Lagbocken (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 January 2012.[permanent dead link] ^ a b c Abrahamsson 1993, p. 39 ^ a b "Energifrågan". Nationalencyklopedin (in Swedish). Retrieved 7 November 2011. ^ a b "World heritage nomination — IUCN summary, the lapponian area (Sweden)" (PDF). Patrimoine mondial. Retrieved 1 November 2011. ^ "Bevarandeplan Natura 2000 Sarek SE0820185" (PDF). Länsstyrelsen i Norrbotten (in Swedish). Retrieved 1 November 2011. ^ a b "Samverkan om Laponia får WWF-pris". Naturvårdsverket (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011. ^ a b Environmental Protection Agency (Sweden) (2007). Nationalparksplan för Sverige – Utkast och remissversion (PDF) (in Swedish).[permanent dead link] ^ a b c Abrahamsson 1993, p. 37 ^ a b Abrahamsson 1993, p. 35 ^ a b Abrahamsson 1993, p. 36 ^ "Vandringleder". www.kvikkjokkfjallstation.se. Kvikkjokks fjällstation. Retrieved 13 August 2015. ^ a b Abrahamsson 1993, p. 40
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