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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.


Counties: Hedmark

Established: 1968

Extended: 2004

Size: 23 km2

The Endless Forest

Gutulia National Park, only 23 km2 in area, is the second smallest National Park in Norway. It is located south of Femundsmarka. Spruce, pine and birch wreath the high ridge of Gutulivola. For generations the forest has grown wild with almost no human intervention. Some pines are 400 years old, there is a virgin spruce forest, and there are small lakes and bogs - all in all an eldorado for small birds and waders.

Easterly plants like ghost orchid, arctic bramble and sceptered lousewort grow here, and eastern fish such as grayling, vendace, perch, pike and burbot swim in the lakes and rivers.

Hunting and fishing

There are few outdoor recreational facilities provided, although there is a marked trail through the Gutulisetrene mounitain farm. Fishing opportunities are ample, and you can catch trout, char, vendace, grayling, perch, pike and burbot. You can also go hunting for elk, wood grouse, black grouse, grouse, hare, red fox and mink. Remember your hunting and fishing licenses.

Forest, mountain and mire

Gutulia National Park is an area of virgin/primeval forest and a landscape of alpine woodland and bog which is typical for this region. A cold inland climate and low precipitation result in dry and pine-covered plains carpeted with lichens, and dense spruce forests with soft mats of moss.

The most prominent landscape element in Gutulia National Park is the Gutulivola ridge, which trends north to south and reaches a height of 950 metres above the sea level. Open pinewood clothes its west side from the tree line down to 700 metres above sea level at theÊ Gutulisjøen lake. This hillside is relatively steep and the woodland contains many ancient trees and has a typical virgin forest character.

On the opposite side of Gutulivola, towards the Swedish border and down towards the river Gutua, dense spruce forest alternates with more open pine groves. East of Gutulivola the lake Valsjøen, together with several smaller lakes and wet mires, provide a valuable biotope for ducks and waders. The second highest ridge in the national park is Baklivola, located further north. A broad valley leading to Valsjøen separates Gutulivola and Baklivola.

Exciting dark virgin forest

After the Ice age, birch and pine firstly migrated into Gutulia. Pine survives easier than birch in dry areas and also occupies poor sites like ridges, rock slabs and bare patches of gravel. Due to the severe climatic conditions, the pine trees grow slowly, and trees approximately 400 years old can be observed in the protected area. The birch spreaded on damper ground and due their resistance against lower temperatures and high altitudes.

Spruce was observed in Gutulia thousands of years later than birch and pine, but since spruce is hardier, it gradually occupied the area richest in nutrients and mostly consistent to moist. East of Gutulisetra and on the east side of Gutulivola, there is now a pure virgin spruce forest, with huge trees approximately 300 years old and with windfalls in all stages of decay.

In addition to birch, pine and spruce, Gutulia also has some willows and grey alders, mainly along the banks of the river Gutua where the water table is highest. The higher parts of Gutulivola are treeless and heath vegetation, largely consisting of ericaceous shrubs and lichens, dominate.

As most of the Gutulia National Park has coarse-grained soil with few nutrients, the plant life is not particularly well developed. Some 230 different vascular plants have been recorded in Gutulia, proving that the area has relatively few species.

The richest parts are on the river banks and in the springtime also in the spruce forest. Tall herb vegetation can be found here, including alpine species like Scottish asphodel, alpine meadow-rue, alpine bartsia and twin-flowered violet. Some typical easterly species like ghost orchid, sceptred lousewort, Juncus Stygius (a rush) and Carex Globularis (a sedge) also occur. Common bent, sweet vernal-grass and heath wood-rush are found close to the summer dairy farm, Gutulivollen, which proves that farm animals used to graze there.

Typical alpine woodland

The bird life at Gutulia is representative for any ordinary forest or woodland in south-east Norway. Typical alpine woodland species like bramblings, tree pipits and willow warblers are represented, as well as the redwing, song thrush and dunnock in the pinewoods. Reed buntings occur in damper places. Waders such as greenshanks and wood sandpipers, common throughout the Femund district, are also found at Gutulia.

The most common duck is the teal. Birds of prey nesting in the park include the sparrow hawk and merlin, and ospreys and golden eagles are also visiting the area from time to time. Meadow pipits, wheatears and golden plovers can be seen on the high ground.

Usual fauna of south-eastern Norway

The limited variety of habitats at Gutulia doubtlessly explains why the animal life in the area is not particularly rich. The national park has a small stock of elk and occasionally some semi-domesticated reindeers visit the park from the extensive grazing areas further north. The only resident predators are red foxes, stoats and weasels, but lynx and wolverines have been observed. A few species of small rodents are present, and in peak years they provide a valuable source of food for predators and birds of prey.

Different kinds of fish are observed in the rivers and lakes of the park. Easterly species like vendace, grayling, perch, pike and burbot have been able to migrate into the park from some Swedish rivers. The rivers and lakes also contain trout and char, probably migrated from the lake Femunden.

Virtually untouched by man

The virgin forest at Gutulia is virtually pristine, but intensive felling affected a small area in the south-east corner of the park after 1945. Summer dairy farming went on in Gutulia for nearly 200 years, but had little effect on the original character of the vegetation.


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