The end of 2020 gave us some fantastic news. Both Kjerag and Preikestolen got certified as Norwegian Scenic Hikes.
At the moment Kjerag, Preikestolen and Fosseråsa in Geiranger are the only three places that have been authorized as Norwegian Scenic hikes.
It is a pleasure to authorize Kjerag and Preikestolen as Norwegian Scenic Hikes. These two destinations are in world class, and show that nature is a strong attraction in itself. Says Ellen Hambro – director in the Norwegian Environment agency.
Up to 15 trails can become authorized as Norwegian Scenic Hikes. Kjerag in Sandnes commune and Preikestolen in Strand commune now become the second and third authorized trail. Fosseråsa in Geiranger is the only other certified trail.
With the long and narrow Lysefjorden 600-900 meters below, you suddenly become very small in this beautiful landscape. It is easy to understand the big interest in these areas, Hambro says.
Popular International destinations.
There is a comprehensive set of criteria that must be met in order to be authorized as Norwegian Scenic Hikes. The applications show that Lysefjorden Utvikling and Stiftelsen Preikestolen has worked systematically and had focus on quality during the development of Preikestolen and Kjerag.
Preikestolen has been a popular international destination for decades and has had over 300 000 visitors each year. The hike is approximately 8 km all together. It is suited for both the experienced and not so experienced hiker. Most people are capable of doing the hike, as long as you have the right equipment.
The hike to Kjerag is a lot more demanding. 11 km round trip with about 780 meters climb. It goes over steep cliffs and down into lush bog areas, before following a height of around 900 masl. The last bit to Kjeragbolten.
Important with cooperation
The national tourist trails will be good examples of sustainable Norwegian tourism. There are trails that have a big attraction, a lot of visitors and a large proportion of international guests. Comprehensive and long-term cooperation are some of the characteristics of the trails that are authorized as Norwegian Scenic Hikes.
The use of visitor management as a tool will help the trails to withstand the high number of visitors, and for the visitors to have good experience. At the same time nature and culture must be taken care of, and the broad local value creation and development of the local community must be facilitated. As a part of this work, vulnerability analyses have been carried out for natural and cultural values, as well as assessments related to safety for the two trails. In this way, the right measures to prevent high traffic from affecting the quality of the trail and that the safety is maintained and prioritized.
It is delightful that more people are exploring the nature and hiking. For the next generations to get the same opportunities, we need to manage the outdoor areas in a good way. We need to make sure the right measures are made. In some places there is a need for significant facilitation, while in other places it is enough with simple bumps over a bog, says Hambro.
Innovation Norway is part of the project group for Norwegian Scenic Hikes:
Norwegian Scenic Hikes is a good example of how we can maintain nature attractions in places with a large visitor scale. Through good visitor management both locals and and tourists can enjoy the Norwegian Scenic Hikes. This is important for the development of Norwegian tourism in the future, says Bente Bratland Holm, director of tourism at Innovation Norway.
In addition to authorization scheme, a subsidy scheme was established in 2017 for Norwegian Scenic Hikes. Since then, about 40 million have been distributed. The money has been used to build emergency cabins, rescue equipment, mountain guard service, bridges and trail facilitation, in addition to working on visit strategies. Trails that are authorized will be prioritized in the subsidy scheme.