Fulufjället National Park



Location: Älvdalen Municipality, Dalarma County  Map

Area: 385 sq km (149 sq mi)


Description of Fulufjället National Park


Fulufjället National Park is a nature reserve within Älvdalen Municipality in Dalarma County of Sweden.  Fulufjället National Park is named after Fulufjället peak that reaches an elevation of 1044 meters. Another notable attraction is a famous Njupeskar Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Sweden. Another interesting resident of Fulufjället National Park is the "Old Tjikko". This Norway Spruce tree is 9550 years old and it is considered to be the oldest living individual tree in the World. However it is not very big or tall so don't get you hopes up to see a true giant.

Fulufjället National Park covers a total area of 385 sq km or 149 sq mi and was inaugurated in 2002 by Swedish king Carl XVI Gustaf.



The origin of the name Fulufjället is not exactly known: the suffix -fjället means "mountain", but the beginning of the word fulu- has no definite meaning. It has been suggested that, perhaps, the root of the word is translated from Old Swedish as "dull" or "pale" as the names of the city of Falun and the river Fulan. Thus, the mountain and the entire forest area could have received its name from the nearby city, more precisely, from the old road connecting the city of Trysil with Falun. This path just passed through the mountains, from where the name "mountain on the road to Falun" could have come.



The park is located in the Dalarna county, 25 km southwest of the Sørna. It stretches along the Norwegian border for 385 km and covers an area of ​​38,483 hectares. Stockholm is 400 km away. The nearest railway station and airport are located in the town of Mura, 140 km to the north.

Fulufjellet, located far from the sea, has a moderately continental, rather arid climate. The average temperature here is 1 ° C; the amount of precipitation is quite high (600-850 mm per year). Snow cover lasts from 170 to 200 days a year.

The weather in the park is very changeable both in terms of temperature and uneven precipitation. So on August 30-31, 1997, its territory was covered by a powerful hurricane. In 24 hours, the amount of precipitation was 276 mm, (in some more southerly places up to 400 mm), which became a record in the entire history of meteorological observations in Sweden. The area suffered significant damage. Many trees have been felled.

Water resources
The park has significant water resources. Many small rivers originate in Fulufjellet, such as Tangyeong, Giryong, Bergyun, Fulubyogan, Stora Nupyeong and Stora Golyan. The first three feed the Gorelven River, which runs in the west of the massif, the other three are tributaries of the Fulan in the east. Gorelven and Fulan together form the Westerdalelwe, which in turn forms the great river Dalelven.

The plateau is famous for its large number of waterfalls. The largest of them, Niepäscher, is 93 meters high (70 of which is free fall of water) and is the tallest in Sweden. There are several large lakes in the southern part of the park. For example, Stora Rosiyon 1.01 km2 (0.39 sq mi), Stora and Lilla Harsiyon 0.77 km2 (0.30 sq mi) and 0.65 km2 (0.25 sq mi) respectively, Stora Getsiyon 0 , 66 km2 (0.25 sq mi) and so on. Such lakes are quickly replenished due to frequent precipitation. The park area includes several marshes with a total area of ​​20 km2 (7.7 sq mi).

Geological features
The massif of the national park consists mainly of sandstone, which was formed about 900 million years ago, when this part of the Baltic tectonic plate was located at the equator. Thus, in those days, the climate was desert with dry winds and a lot of sand. Over time, a solid rock - sandstone - was formed in the horizontal layers.

This geological structure is very different from the rest of the Swedish territories, which is dominated by granite. It also differs from other parts of the Scandinavian mountains, which are the components of the Caledonian chain. The sandy structure is called the Dalecarlian (or Trysilian in Norwegian) and is the largest in Sweden in terms of area and layer thickness (about 1200 meters). Sandstone has a reddish tint, but can also be gray, yellow and brown.

The second component of the soil layers in this zone is diabase. It is very important in this area, as together with sandstones it forms a rich substrate for plants. It is also more resistant to erosion than sandstone and therefore can be seen in rural areas as well.

Presumably, about 60 million years ago, the western coast of Scandinavia and the eastern part of North and South America underwent a strong tectonic uplift, which later created the Fulufjellet relief. The reasons for this are not completely clear to this day. Several hypotheses have been proposed, the main ones of which are the rise of the earth's crust near Iceland and glaciation. This uplift made it possible to form a fairly flat area of ​​the surface, several thousand meters high.

Then this area underwent significant erosion, although significantly less than other areas of Scandinavia. Even during cold snaps, when the entire area was covered with a thick ice cover, the movement of ice was weak, which did not greatly affect the landscape of the park zone.

Flora and fauna
The park is located in the WWF ecoregion of the Scandinavian and Russian taiga, although a significant part is located in the Arctic zone.

Due to rather severe weather conditions and infertility of the soil, the vegetation is not very diverse. Among the most common species are juniper and birch (downy). Herbaceous willow, alpine hawk (Hieracium alpine), alpine bearberry (Arctostaphylos Alpinus), crowberry (Empetrum), lingonberry (Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea), blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and alpine azalea (Loumbiseuria) are also common. But what makes Fulufjellet different from other national parks is the variety of lichens: lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) and Cladonia Stellaris. Also in such a remote area was found one of the oldest trees in the world "Old Tikko", which is more than 9500 years old.


The animal world of the plateau is also poor. It is mainly home to the willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), and the Eurasian golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria), chrustan (Charadrius morinellus), snow bunting (Plectropax nival Calcarius lapponicus), partridge (Lagopus lagopus). The rock partridge (Lagopus muta) is rare on the highest slopes. For many of these species, the park is the southern part of their range in Sweden.

Valleys and slopes
In the valley and on the slope of the mountain, diabase is contained in the soil in greater quantities, therefore the flora is richer here. This area of ​​the park is covered with forests, where some trees of different heights grow: marsh birch (Betula pubescens), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) cover an area of ​​4100 hectares, 3500 hectares and 5000 hectares, respectively. Smaller plants also add variety to the flora. So, on the southern slope of the mountain you can see Scottish pines, and their location strongly resembles a wasteland, with heather and crowberry growing here. Other representatives of these places are most often blueberry, northern oak, fern (Gymnocarpium dryopteris), common goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea) and the so-called “cow's wheat” meadow beetle (Melampyrum pratense). The soil containing a sufficient percentage of diabase allows more demanding plants to grow in this place: alpine blue thistle (Cicerbita alpina), forest geranium (Geranium sylvaticum) and northern aconite (Aconitum lycoctonum). The park is a very large area for almost 2/3 of all types of mosses in the country.

In contrast to the plateau, the animal world is more saturated. This is the habitat of the brown bear (Ursus arctos), which spends the winter in dens along the slopes. In the spring, the bears descend to the plain and return only by the time the berries are ripening. Nature is also a place of life for the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx). Both of these species are protected by the state. In addition, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and other predators such as the wolverine (Gulo gulo), the gray wolf (Canis lupus) and the arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) are much less common and do not have a clear habitat in this area. The national park is home to the elk (Alces alces), which graze in the mountains in summer, but prefers to spend the winter in the lowlands, where there is less snow. There is a small population of wild reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Fulufjellet is one of the few highlands in Sweden where there is no domestic reindeer pasture. The musk ox (Ovibos moschatus), which left this area about 4,000 years ago, has reappeared in Norway and can sometimes be seen in the park. Smaller animals include the Eurasian red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), the European marten (Martes martes) and the white hare (Lepus timidus). As in other mountains in Sweden and Norway, lemming is present here, but spotted individuals are the most numerous in recent years, while other species are almost nonexistent. There is still no explanation for this phenomenon.

The bird world is most diverse in the forest part of the park. Thrush (Turdus torquatus), crow (Corvus corax) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) can be found. There are also huge woodpeckers (Picoides tridactylus), crossbill parrots (Loxia pytyopsittacus), red crossbills (Loxia curvirostra), redstarts (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), whiskers (Fringilla montifringilla) and Siberian gibbets (Perisoreus infaustus), the last birds of which are the national park symbols.

The park has several areas with swamps, but they are usually poor in vegetation, with the exception of a few patches of land where there is a lot of diabase. However, some plants still manage to grow in rather difficult conditions: golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium alternifolium), gerbil (Epilobium alsinifolium), aconite and stellaria tree (Stellaria nemorum). The Newpescher Falls have the best growing conditions for sorrel (Oxyria digyna), which usually does not grow in these areas. As elsewhere in the park, mosses and lichens have chosen a place here, which makes Fulufjellet one of the richest in the diversity of these species in all of Sweden. 394 species of mosses and about 500 species of lichens grow here. Their abundance is also explained by the fact that deer do not graze in large numbers in this place.

In these places, the beaver builds its dams, which practically disappeared several years ago due to intense hunting, but has now restored its population. It is distinguished by the wetlands of the park and the abundance of the bird world. The ducks (Aythya marila), the long-tailed ducks (Clangula hyemalis), the blue-eyed (Melanitta nigra), and the red-necked phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) nest here. large snails (Tringa nebularia) and fifi (Tringa glareola). There is a great curlew (Numenius arquata), which is considered an endangered species.


The lakes are mainly inhabited by arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus), trout (Salmo trutta) and burbot (Lota lota). The waters of the park are renowned for their splendor of living things and were protected by law in 1962.



Unlike the Norwegian part of the massif, the Swedish side is poorly studied from an archaeological point of view. The first traces of human activity date from the Stone Age, while the area was cleared of glaciers 8000 years ago. The presence of people is proved by an ancient ax found near the Fulan River. The inhabitants were hunter-gatherers, and not a single known settlement remained until the Iron Age.

The four Iron Age burial stone pyramids are one of the most famous pieces of evidence from that era. This is all that was found in Dalarn. They can be seen in the northeastern part of the plateau, 2 km southeast of Newpesher (2-4 meters long and 1 meter high).

During Viking times, some permanent settlements were built around Mora. Thus, it can be understood that people began to live permanently in the valleys of Fulufjellet even before 1000 AD.

Middle Ages and Modern Times
The villages of Serna, Heden and Idre were probably created due to the presence and hunting of deer in these areas. Trade in reindeer and reindeer products then existed throughout Europe. Nevertheless, it began to decline in the XIV century.

During the Middle Ages, the territory was often redrawn due to its location on the Norwegian-Swedish border. Then the massif was completely Norwegian, but in 1644 Sweden managed to capture Sørna during the Danish-Swedish war. However, the Bremsburg Peace Treaty did not completely resolve territorial disputes until 1751.

The number of villages increased in the 19th century: Gördalen, Storböken, Storbron, Högnassen, Mörkret, Tjarnwallen and Lilledalen. Many of the park trails date back to the era of distillation.

Until the 18th century, the area was used primarily as a hunting and pasture site. Although the Røros mines require an enormous amount of timber, transport problems kept Fulufjellet from logging. This continued until the middle of the 19th century, when an active timber industry developed in the region for mining, transportation and timber floating, first along the Görelven River, when the conflicts with Norway stopped. The most inaccessible places were not affected by timber mining. Such places remain untouched to this day.



The first territory protected by the state in 1937 was the area of ​​62 hectares around the Nyupescher Falls, which became the prototype of a nature reserve in Sweden. In 1946, 365 hectares of forest along Golyan were classified as protected. Then 350 hectares around Leuvasen came under protection and finally, in 1960, Fulufjellet was expanded by another 342 near Niepecher. During the 1960-1970s, the territory received the status of a natural park and has been enlarged several times. In 1990, reindeer grazing was banned.

In 1989, the question arose to make Fulufjellet a national park. Negotiations with local authorities began the following year, but the local population was against it. One of the arguments in favor of the creation of the reserve was the development of winter tourism and attracting more visitors here, mainly foreigners. Opponents of this idea spoke out against the presence of foreign tourists in these places. In addition, in this case, local restrictions were imposed on hunting, fishing and the use of a snowmobile. The administration of the municipality of Alvdalen heard critical comments on this matter. The founders of the idea thus changed the development strategy of the park and agreed with the residents how the latter want to see the future of the project. Discussions continued and in 1999 the residents voted in favor. The idea of ​​creating a national park was no longer seen as a set of restrictions. This led to the realization of the idea in 2002. The official motive was "to preserve the territory of the central mountains with characteristic vegetation and richness of nature in a relatively intact form." Fulufjellet was the first Swedish national park to open since 1962. The official opening ceremony took place on September 17, 2002 in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustav. It has also protected bird species since 1996. The park was one of the first in the PAN project, created by WWF to combine conservation and tourism in these regions.