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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.


County: Oppland

Established: 1968

Size: 9 km2

The ancient and mysterious virgin forest

Spruce trees on the steep slopes below Ormtjernkampen stand until they fall over. Consequently, clearings occur giving younger trees growth-promoting conditions in this shadowy world. In this environment many species of birds find food and a place to live. Some parts of this area also havea rich understorey vegetation with plants, like the Lily-of-the-valley, whorled Solomons-seal, Field gentian and the rare Campanula barbata.

The park has an alpine climate with cool summers and cold winters, and combined with a moderate annual precipitation this gives a high atmospheric humidity. Due to these climate conditions, mosses, lichens and fungi grow well on the ground and on the trees.

Ormtjernkampen is the smallest of Norway´s National Parks. It is a natural ancient forest, where flora and fauna are allowed to grow wild, showing how the pine forest of southeast Norway was before the woodman«s axe made its mark.

Walk in the woods

In Ormtjernkampen no outdoor recreational facilities are provided. Parts of the terrain are nonetheless easily accessible, and the park is so small that you can reach most of it within a day. However, the most dense part of the forest can be difficult to negotiate. Some species of fish ar found in and around Ormtjernet lake. Remember to get a fishing license.

Typical for the interior of southeast Norway

The landscape in this national park differs little from other upland areas in the interior of southeast Norway. Ormtjernkampen mountain, after which the park is named, rises steeply from the lake Dokkvatnet and continues southeastwards as a long ridge. The east side of Ormtjernkampen is steep and rocky at places, and the most characteristic virgin forest is found in these areas.

In the northern part of the park, between Ormtjernkampen and another mountain called Dokkampen, there is a broad and boggy valley called Storskardet. Here, the landscape widens both westwards and southwards. Further down and towards the former summer dairy farms Ormtjernsetrene, there is a continuous belt of birch and spruce woodland. The third mountain called Snæreskampen, is situated in the southwest corner of the national park.

A great variety of plants - and one botanical curiosity

The coniferous forest dominates entirely the lower parts of Ormtjernkampen National Park. On the slopes a fairly poor developed birch belt gradually replaces the coniferous forest, and the spruce reigns the area, probably since a late date. Due to the hardiness of the spruce, birch and pine are ousted in most places, where the temperature and moisture are favourable. Except for a few dry locations only some occasional ancient pine trees remain in the coniferous forest belt.

Undergrowth in the shade

The groundstorey vegetation in the spruce forest consists of a few plant species adjusted to tolerate a great deal of shade. Bilberry is one of these species dominating large areas. In other places where more light penetrates, species like Harebell, Goldenrod, Chickweed-wintergreen and small Cow-wheat can be observed.

It is comparatively warm and dry on the southern slope below the northern part of Ormtjernkampen and a number of typical warmth-loving lowland species find conditions to their liking, including wild strawberry, raspberry, Lily-of-the-valley, whorled Solomons-seal, Field gentian and Bird cherry.

At the end of the summer, a distinctive mixture of yellow and white flowers can be seen on the banks of Dokkvatnet: creeping Spearwort and Awlwort occupying the shore zone as the water level falls. Chestnut rush and Sceptred lousewort are also common along Dokkvatnet.

Campanula barbata - A botanical mystery

The most common ground vegetation in the birchwood, particularly at dry sites, consists of grass, ericaceous plants and ferns. In damper places, such as the steep slopes down to Dokkvatnet and Ormtjernet, lush tall-herb vegetation is generally present. Alpine blue-sow-thistle, Monks-hood, White buttercup, Meadow-sweet, Red campion and Scandinavian small-reed are also common.

A very special and rare species observed at many open and sunny sites is the Campanula barbata, a relative of the Harebell. The Campanula barbata is found just at very few sites in Norway, and the nearest localities of this species elsewhere are in the Alps and the Carpathians. It is a mystery to botanists how this species has reached Norway.

Poor bogs

The bogs in the birchwood are comparatively poor in nutrients and have species that are not very demanding, such as peat mosses, sedges and cottongrasses. Alongside the streams, however, and towards the former summer dairy farms at Ormtjernsetrene further down, the soil is richer in minerals and on some lawn fens more demanding species like Alpine saw-wort, Scottish asphodel, Purple moor-grass, Alpine cinquefoil, Alpine bartsia and Yellow saxifrage thrive.

The vegetation in the alpine parts of the national park mostly consists of creeping dwarf birch and various ericaceous plants. In windy locations, reindeer lichen and the lichen Cetraria nivalis are common.

Good habitats for many birds

Ormtjernkampen National Park has a rich animal life and especially several species of birds. The mixture of living and dead trees in the spruce forest offers good habitats for many birds. Several kinds of woodpeckers, thrushes and tits are common, as are robins, goldcrests, siskins and bullfinches. Wood pigeons, capercaillie and birds of prey like goshawks, sparrow hawks, merlins and rough-legged buzzards are less common.

Typical birds in the birchwoods are bramblings, redstarts and redpolls, but willow grouse and black grouse are more seldom. Waders such as redshank, greenshank and snipe are often seen on the bogs and beside small lakes. The most common duck in the park is the teal. Golden plovers, meadow pipits and wheatears nest above the tree line. Other bird species like cranes, ravens and birds of prey also pay their visits in Ormtjernkampen national park during the year.

Rich and varied

Many elks live in the woods near Dokkvatnet throughout the year, and both red deer and roe deer are occasionally passing through the area. Red foxes, stoats and minks have their habitats in the park and other predators like lynxs, wolverines and pine martens are visiting the area from time to time. Squirrels, hares and several species of other small rodents have their habitats here too.

Reptiles like adders and lizards are represented despite the long winters, and frogs are the only amphibians recorded in the waters. There are few species of fish in the waterstreams from Ormtjernet, except for trouts and minnows.

No human traces

There are no particular signs of human activity in Ormtjernkampen. In earlier times, farm animals used to graze some parts of the area, and firewood was made of felled trees and used at nearby summer dairy farms. Hunting and berry picking were also major activities in the area. At present, the forest has reclaimed the area to the full, and the ancient spruce forest fulfils all the requirements that most people associate with a virgin forest.


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