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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.




RAGO NATIONAL PARK

County: Nordland

Established: 1971

Size: 171 km2





In the wilderness

Rago National Park has a magnificent rugged landscape, and is known for its steep mountains and cascading rivers. A scatter of pine trees grows among treeless upland heaths and smooth rock slabs dotted with erratic boulders. The flora is rather poor but includes some rare mountain plants. Wolverine breed here, while the lynx visits occasionally. Rago abuts the Swedish national parks of Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjøfallet, and together they make up the largest protected area in Europe, covering a combined area of 5.700 km2.




Splendid scenery

Splendid scenery awaits hikers visiting Rago. The natural approach route for a visitor to Rago is along Storskogdalen. You´ll find several marked trails and 2 unstaffed tourist cabins. However, the capacity is limited, so a tent is advisable, to be on the safe side. There are good fish stocks in several lakes in the National Park, and small game hunting is possible. Remember to get fishing and hunting licences.




In the realm of contrasts

The landscape is full of contrasts and can offer still woodlands and smooth rock faces, and also jagged cliffs, thundering waterfalls, glaciers and snowfields. When the ice retreated from the Rago area at the close of the last Ice Age it left behind numerous large and small granite blocks which now form a remarkable element of the landscape as they lie scattered around in the terrain. Rago, in contrast to the neighbouring Swedish national parks, has a typical coastal climate with a great deal of precipitation, cool summers and mild winters.

The Storskogdalen valley takes you from Laksehola in the west between smooth, rock-strewn mountainsides north-eastwards to a lake called Storskogvatnet. The river flowing down Storskogdalen from the lake is flanked by pine-clad slopes and precipitous crags, and on its passage forms magnificent waterfalls and rapids in several places. East of the lake, the valley continues for some distance until it meets the steep, grey mountains in the northern part of the park. The desolate, magnificent Trolldalen valley is also situated up here.

The mountains of Lappfjell and Flatkjølen dominate the landscape in the southern part of the park. Together they form a partially glacier-covered ridge stretching towards Sweden. North of Lappfjell is a lake called Litle Værivatnet, from whose banks mountainsides rise precipitously. At its western end is a pass through which the lake drains over a more than 100 metres high waterfall to form the Storskogelva river.




A poor flora - but not without botanical delicacies

The plant life in Rago National Park is relatively poor, probably because the soil contains few nutrients and the climate is severe. Pine dominates beside the river and lake in Storskogdalen, but upland downy birch gradually takes over up the slopes towards the tree line. The understorey vegetation is largely poor. However, exceptions are found and at the north end of Storskogvatnet, where some goat willow and rowan trees are growing, it is possible to find alpine blue-sow-thistle, globeflower and whorled Solomons seal.

As the summers are cold, characteristic alpine plants like roseroot, alpine Ladys-mantle, two-flowered violet and the easterly species, sceptred lousewort, grow all the way down in the woodland. A coastal species, dwarf cornel, is also common in the birchwoods. As the granite in the area produces few nutrients, there are poor fens where few-flowered sedge is a characteristic plant. Purple moor-grass and deergrass, both mire plants that thrive best in a moist coastal climate, are also found here.

In the higher parts of the national park, there is a typical, sparse alpine vegetation. Trailing azalea, diapensia, crowberry and stiff sedge are common in dry places, whereas species like alpine Ladys-mantle, Sibbaldia, dwarf willow and parsley fern generally grow close to snow patches.

The south-eastern corner of the protected area is exciting for those keen on botany. Thanks to some exposures of calcareous schist, several relatively rare alpine plants grow here, including alpine whitlowgrass, thick-leaved whitlowgrass, polar mouse-ear, Carpathian fleabane and snow buttercup.




Lively around the Rago river

Snow buntings, wheatears, meadow pipits and rock grouse are the most common birds to be seen on the Rago mountains, but birds are on the whole scarce in the higher parts of the national park. It is more lively around the river Rago, where song thrushes, redwings, fieldfares, willow warblers and garden warblers may be seen.

However, the largest numbers occur in the tall-herb woodland north of Storskogvatnet. Since there are more insects there and it is easier to find cover, several species of thrushes, warblers, finches and tits are to be found there.

The dipper favours the river in Trolldal, and bluethroats live in the willow thickets along its banks. There are not many aquatic birds in the park, but with a little luck you may see goldeneye, red-throated divers and common gulls. Common sandpipers nest regularly each year along the Storskogselva river. In some years, the birchwoods at Rago have relatively large numbers of willow grouse, and there are black grouse and capercaillie in the pinewoods.




In the realm of the wolverine

Sparse vegetation is generally accompanied by poor fauna, and this is also the case at Rago. Perhaps the most exciting member of the national park fauna is the wolverine, which has its dense and hunting territories among these rugged mountains. Lynx also roam here regularly. The elk, a relatively recent immigrant, is the only member of the deer family that is permanently resident in the area.

There are many brown bears across the border in the vast national parks in Sweden, and it would be natural to expect that some would occasionally roam over the mountains to Rago. However, no bears have been recorded here since just after the last war. Red foxes, mink and stoats are common among the smaller predators, but arctic foxes and pine martens are rare. The protected area also houses hares, squirrels and various kinds of small rodents, but their numbers vary a great deal from year to year.

Owing to the many large waterfalls along Storskogselva, the area that is now a national park originally lacked fish. However, trout and char have been released and there are now good fish stocks in several lakes in the park.




The old route to Sweden

The area that is now a national park was formerly used in various ways by different groups of people. There are long trapping traditions. The Sami once drove their reindeer through Rago when journeying from Sweden to their summer grazing in Norway, and people living in the Sørfold district periodically took timber from Storskogdalen even though the journey to the sawmill was long and arduous. An attempt was made to work silver and lead near Ragotoppen for a while before the First World War, but the claims were unprofitable and the venture soon ceased.







OPPLAND


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Jotunheimen
Ormtjernkampen
Rondane



HEDMARK


Dovre
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Gutulia
Rondane



BUSKERUD


Hardangervidda


TELEMARK


Hardangervidda


HORDALAND


Hardangervidda
Folgefonna



SOGN & FJORDANE


Jostedalsbreen
Jotunheimen



MØRE & ROMSDAL


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella


SØR TRØNDELAG


Dovrefjell - Sunndalsfjella
Femundsmarka
Forollhogna
Skarvan and Roltdalen



NORD TRØNDELAG


Blåfjella-Skjækerfjella
Børgefjell
Lierne
Skarvan and Roltdalen



NORDLAND


Børgefjell
Junkerdal
Møysalen
Rago
Saltfjellet - Svartisen



TROMS


Reisa
Øvre Dividal
Ånderdalen



FINNMARK


Stabbursdalen
Øvre Anarjohka
Øvre Pasvik



SVALBARD


Forlandet
Nordenskiøld Land
Nordre Isfjorden
Nordvest-Spitsbergen
Sassen-Bunsow Land
Sør-Spitsbergen