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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: Finnmark

Established: 1975

Size: 1390 km2

An endless plateau

Øvre Anarjohka National Park and the neighbouring Lemmenjoki National Park in Finland form a large area of undisturbed countryside in the far north. The national park is a remote and wild part of the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau with a representative selection of natural environments. This remote area is characterised by an ancient rolling landscape with birch forest, sparse pine, extensive bogs and numerous lakes. Numerous species can be seen at Øvre Anarjohka.

The palsa bogs with their core of everlasting ice are a characteristic feature, as is Labrador-tea which gives off a powerful scent on still and warm sunny days. Here, whooper swans and waders can remain undisturbed by people, if not by mosquitos.

Hiking, fishing, hunting

There are few outdoor recreational facilities provided in Øvre Anarjohka National Park. However, hiking is still possible. You can also fish and hunt for grouse, hare, red fox and mink. Remember your fishing and hunting licenses.

Bogs, lakes and treeless plains

Øvre Anarjohka national park is a flat plateau with a number of rounded, rolling ridges. 50% of the park consist of bogs, lakes and a treeless plain, in addition to large woodlands and areas with more scattered trees. From the banks of the Anarjohka river, the ground rises gently into a long ridge and a treeless plateau stretching from Spierkojeaggi in the north to Riehttecearru in the southwest.

The western part of the park is higher than the eastern part and its landscape is therefore more alpine in character, with rocks, ericaceous plants, and bogs. Woods of stunted birch trees only grow close to streams and lakes. Many mires in the park are several kilometres long, and are difficult for people to cross. There are more than 700 large and small lakes, and several large rivers have their headwaters at the plateau. The largest lake is Gavdnjajavri, near the headwater of the Anarjohka.

Øvre Anarjohka has a typical continental climate with dry summers and extremely cold winters. Two main types of bedrock are found in the area. In the west, the acid rocks offer the plants few nutrients and poor soil when weathering. Further east, basic rocks of the Karasjok Formation dominate, forming a good basis for vegetation that includes many more species.

Many easterly plants

Øvre Anarjohka national park contains more than 100 square kilometres of pinewood, mainly consisting of genuine virgin forest. Due to the cold climate, the pines grow extremely slow and are therefore stunted with numerous branches and twigs. Spruce is recorded in very small numbers in two parts of the park, and is therefore rare and vulnerable. Birch trees are stunted, crooked and occur in a scattered fashion over a large area. The ground layer in the birch woodland mainly consists of lichens, being a very important resource for the reindeers during the winter.

Bogs also comprise a significant portion of the park. They are mostly poor in nutrients and the vegetation is therefore dominated by sedges and cottongrasses. Along their margins, thickets of Labrador-tea and various kinds of willows as well as a few upland downy birches are common. Species like northern willow, downy willow, globeflower, sceptred lousewort and wood cranes-bill, which require more nutrients, often grow beside rivers and streams.

Large herbs, commonly referred to as Siberian species are strongly represented in the park; Ground speedwell, Siberian lettuce, two meadow-rues (Thalictrum simplex ssp. boreale and T. kemense) and acutish Jacobs-ladder. Lapland buttercups and dwarf golden-saxifrages can be seen along springs and at other moist sites, and rusty cottongrass on lawns.

Rare eastern species

The bird life in Øvre Anarjohka National Park is rich and includes many otherwise rarely seen eastern species. Redstarts, willow tits and Siberian tits are generally found in the pinewoods. Three-toed woodpeckers and Siberian jays, as well as rough-legged buzzards, golden eagles, gyr falcons and merlins can also be observed. The bogs offer good habitats for waders. Wood sandpipers, redshanks, whimbrels, bar-tailed godwits and jack snipes are common, and the spotted redshank, in Norway is confined to Finnmark, also occurs.

On the river banks it is normal to observe dippers, pied wagtails, Temmincks stints and ringed plovers, while black-throated divers, teals, goldeneyes, long-tailed ducks, velvet scoters, common scoters and whooper swans can be seen on the lakes. The park can boast several small passerine species that are otherwise rare in Norway, such as the yellow wagtail, Lapland bunting, arctic warbler and sedge warbler. Ptarmigan and willow grouse are also present, but the capercaillie is rarer.

A rich and varied fauna

Since many kinds of habitats are found in Øvre Anarjohka national park, the animal life is comparatively rich. The largest mammals are the elks, and they often migrate to more wooded areas outside the park in the winter time. The protected area has 12 winter grazing units and these are very important for reindeer husbandry.

Consequently, from November to April inclusive, the reindeers completely dominate. Brown bears have their winter lair within the national park, but wolverines only visit spasmodically. The red fox and stoat are the most common of the smaller predators.

Many small rodents are found in the park. Lemmings, field voles, root voles and northern water voles are most widespread, but their numbers vary a great deal from year to year. The northern red-backed vole, a typical Siberian species, is a characteristic inhabitant of the national park. The area has a stable hare population, and a few species of shrews are also present.

Øvre Anarjohka national park has many kinds of fish. Salmon, trout, char, three-spined sticklebacks, grayling, vendace, pike, perch, burbot and minnows are common. One of the more seldom fish species is the char, only found in one of the lakes.

Domain of the Sami for centuries

Øvre Anarjohka has been the domain of the Sami people (Lapps) for centuries. They were living as nomads, engaged in hunting, fishing and gathering from the nature, but from 1750 they mainly tended to their semi-domesticated reindeer herds. Gold diggers tried their luck in the area in the middle of the 1960s, but left the area after a short time as the venture proved unprofitable.


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