Skuleskogen

( Skuleskogen National Park )

Skuleskogen National Park (Swedish: Skuleskogens nationalpark, literally The Skule Forest National Park) is a Swedish national park in Västernorrland County, on the coast of the Baltic Sea, in northern Sweden. It covers 30.62 km2 (11.82 sq mi), constituting the eastern part of the Forest of Skule.

The park is characterized by a very rough topology with many rocky peaks, of which the highest is Slåttdalsberget, 280 m (920 ft) in altitude, rising directly from the sea. The topography is also marked by the presence of deep crevasses and caves. This particular topology can be found throughout the entire High Coast (Swedish: Höga kusten), a region of Sweden so named because it constitutes the highest section of the coast of the Baltic Sea. This region is in our day principally known as a favoured site for the observation of the phenomenon of post-glacial rebound. Most of the region was under the sea less than 10,000 years ...Read more

Skuleskogen National Park (Swedish: Skuleskogens nationalpark, literally The Skule Forest National Park) is a Swedish national park in Västernorrland County, on the coast of the Baltic Sea, in northern Sweden. It covers 30.62 km2 (11.82 sq mi), constituting the eastern part of the Forest of Skule.

The park is characterized by a very rough topology with many rocky peaks, of which the highest is Slåttdalsberget, 280 m (920 ft) in altitude, rising directly from the sea. The topography is also marked by the presence of deep crevasses and caves. This particular topology can be found throughout the entire High Coast (Swedish: Höga kusten), a region of Sweden so named because it constitutes the highest section of the coast of the Baltic Sea. This region is in our day principally known as a favoured site for the observation of the phenomenon of post-glacial rebound. Most of the region was under the sea less than 10,000 years ago, after the ice sheet that blanketed it melted. But thanks to the melting of this mass of ice that had been pressing down upon it, the ground is rising year by year, at a current speed of 8 mm (0.31 in) per year.

Humans have left their mark upon the park, although they probably never established themselves there in great numbers. Numerous Bronze Age funerary cairns are still visible along the ancient coastline. Later, the forest was mainly used as pasture. Things changed in the middle of the 19th century when the logging industry spread throughout Sweden, affecting almost all the forest of the park. This exploitation ceased, however, at the end of that century, so that the current forest is dominated by trees more than 100 years old. This forest has thus been able to recover a part of its ancestral richness, and so contains an important fauna and flora, with several endangered species, such as the lichen Usnea longissima, which is the park's symbol. This geological and biological richness led to the creation of a national park in 1984, followed by the inclusion of the park with the rest of the High Coast in 2000 in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Today, despite its distance from areas of dense human population, the park is a relatively important site of tourism with 20,000 visitors per year. The principal attraction of the park is the 40 m (130 ft) deep crevasse of Slåttdalskrevan, which is easily accessible by numerous hiking trails, including the Höga Kustenleden, which goes along the whole of the High Coast.

Protohistory  Bronze Age cairn in Skuleskogen National Park, near Näskebodarna

Because of the topography and the nature of the terrain, the area did not lend itself to human settlement and no trace of permanent habitation had been found in the park.[S 1] Some traces of habitation dating from the Stone Age were found 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northwest of the park, at Bjästamon. These habitations were probably maintained until the Bronze Age.[S 1] During the Bronze Age, many funerary cairns were placed along the coast as it existed at that time: one can find 28 inside the park, as well as two megalithic monuments.[S 1] Many of these cairns, often circular, have in their centers lone rectangular cists.[S 1] All these monuments are now 35 to 40 metres (130 ft) above the current sea level.[S 1] Just southwest of Näskebodarna, a dozen of these cairns, some of them relatively imposing, are arranged into a kind of cemetery ; the reason for this arrangement is unknown: it probably has to do with marking the territory or showing the way to the village, probably situated in the bays to the north or south of the park.[S 1] One supposes indeed that at that time, navigation by boat was already developed and the sea was an essential resource for the settlers.[S 2]

No traces dating from the Iron Age have been discovered.[S 1]

Exploitation of the park  The old summer pastures of Näskebodarna

The forest of Skule has always been a topographic barrier.[H 1] For example, it would have perhaps have been the northern frontier of the kingdom of Svealand before the year 1000,[H 1] and thus the border between adjacent municipalities and parishes.[H 2] The villages it separated had very limited contact with each other[H 2] and, because of the poor agricultural potential of the forest, there was never a permanent settlement in the forest.[H 3] The forest was, however, traversed by a trail, which later took the name of Kustlandsvägen and which corresponded roughly to the path of today's European route E4.[H 4] For a long time, this path constituted the only road to the north of the country.[H 4] The zone was thus the property of the Swedish crown, which could decide who could use the forest as pasture or engage in logging there.[H 3] In the 17th century, unlike many of the northern Swedish forests belonging to the crown, Skuleskogen did not see any colonization by the Forest Finns (Skogsfinnar), and thus did not undergo slash-and-burn cultivation techniques.[H 3] The forest was instead used as a summer pasture (transhumance), and the hay of the marshes was used as well, although in a very localized fashion.[S 3] As a result, in today's national park there were four summer pasture cottages, three having existed up until the turn of the 20th century, while the last (Näskebodarna) remained active up until the end of World War II.[H 3] This last is now used, maintained in its old state, for tourism.[H 3] The forest would seem to be more open in those days than now.[S 3]

At the same time, it would seem that the Sami were using the mountains as a winter pasture for their reindeer until 1919.[1] They would pass the summer in the mountains of Jämtland, and would travel to the coast between November and April.[1]

After the Great Northern War at the beginning of the 18th century, Sweden encouraged the foundation of villages on its territories by tax exemptions.[H 3] As a result, a few isolated villages were established in the forest of Skuleskogen, but none in today's park.[H 3] Until the middle of the 18th century, logging was limited to the area directly around the villages and thus only minimally affected the forest of the park.[H 5] But that soon changed, the state taking an active part in the exploitation of the forest.[H 5] Logging became the principal activity in the area of the park.[S 2] In a few years, a dozen mills, including a steam mill, were constructed in immediate proximity to today's park.[S 2] The sawmills driven by water wheels only had weak capacities in general and only functioned during certain periods of the year.[S 2] The number of steam mills grew thereafter.[S 2] At first, only the trees with trunks over a fixed length in diameter were able to be cut, but bit by bit, these rules changed, and in the end all the trees were able to be felled.[H 6] Logging slowed down markedly at the turn of the century, allowing the forest to regenerate.[S 2] About 15% of the forest was affected by a new period of exploitation before the protection of the area.[H 6] The forest's oldest trees therefore date from the start of the 20th century.[H 6]

Protection  The park's north entrance, opened in 2010[2]

Upon a great inventory of the environment of the county in the middle of the 1960s, Skuleskogen was noticed for its great natural value.[H 7] So, in 1968, it was decided to protect a part of the massif.[S 4] In 1971, the management plan for the territories of Sweden resulted in the High Coast being classified as a zone of national interest, and next in 1974, a part of the zone was classified as a temporary nature reserve.[S 4] However, conflict arose between the land owners and the authorities of nature protection, the latter maintaining that no exploitation of the forest could occur and that the zone ought to be classified as a national park.[H 7] To accomplish this the terrain would have had to be purchased by the state, but the land owners did not accept the deal that they would be given equivalent areas of forest nearby.[H 7] However, the NCB company, which owned about 70% of the land, was in great financial difficulty and had to sell its land; the state was therefore able to buy the lands inside the proposed park, as well as some surrounding land, to compensate the other land owners.[H 8] The county therefore proposed in 1978 the creation of a natural park to Naturvårdsverket which transmitted the proposal the following year to the government.[H 8] The decision was not, however, made, because some parts of the proposed park were still privately owned.[H 8] The zone was classified as a result only as a nature reserve in 1979.[S 4]

The creation of the national park took place in May 1984.[S 4] The official motive for the creation of the park was "to preserve a heavily deforested coastal landscape, of rocky terrain and fracture valleys, in a relatively intact state, where fauna and flora can develop freely.[3] Negotiations for the purchase of the land could not be completed for certain properties, and the lands concerned remained therefore protected as a nature reserve.[S 4] An area to the northwest of the park was added to the park in 1991, when it was discovered that an endangered species of lichen (Dolichousnea longissima) was growing there.[S 4] In 1996, the area was included in the Natura 2000 Network, and in 2000, they park was important in the High Coast becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site.[S 4] The area thus classified was extended by UNESCO in 2006 by the inclusion of the Finnish archipelago of Kvarken, the entire zone henceforth being called Archipelago of Kvarken/High Coast.[4] In 2009, the park was again expanded by the addition to the northwest and south of land from the nature reserve of Skuleskogen.[S 5]


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^ a b Cite error: The named reference nom was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Entréprojektet 2008-2010". Skuleskogen (in Swedish). Retrieved 18 June 2012. ^ "Förordning om ändring i nationalparksförordningen (1987:938)" (PDF). Lagbocken (in Swedish). Retrieved 25 January 2012.[permanent dead link] ^ "Décision - 30COM 8B.27 - Extensions de biens inscrits sur la Liste du patrimoine mondial (Archipel de Kvarken / Haute Côte)". Convention du patrimoine mondial (in French). Retrieved 12 February 2012.
Photographies by:
Hardo Müller - CC BY-SA 2.0
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