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Scandinavian National Parks moving from the mountain to the coast – is the management designed to handle the visitation pressure and the tourism industry interests?

Conference contribution
Authors Jan Vider Haukeland
Knut Bjørn Stokke
Andreas Skriver Hansen
Published in Proceedings for the International Congress on Coastal and Marine Tourism (CMT2017)
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Language en
Keywords National parks, management, visitation, tourism
Subject categories Human Geography


The focus in this paper is the management of nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation activities in coastal national parks in Norway, with Ytre Hvaler and Færder National Parks in Norway and Kosterhavet National Park in Sweden as case areas. National parks in the two countries have typically been localized in rural and remote alpine and forest regions, whereas coastal landscapes have been underrepresented. The research question we address is how well designed the coastal national park management system, with its jurisdiction, management regulations, management plans, professional competences, financial and staff resources at hand, etc., is to handle the large and diverse visitation pressure as well as various tourism industry interests. In 2009, the first coastal national park in Norway, Ytre Hvaler National Park, was established in southeastern Norway and in tandem with the launching of the neighboring coastal Kosterhavet National Park on the Swedish side of the national border. Færder National Park, a coastal national park localized on the western side of the outer Oslofjord, was inaugurated in 2013. The three national parks have a series of common features, as they comprise similar types of ragged coastal landscapes with archipelagos of islets and skerries, cultural and natural landscapes of high value, as well as unique marine ecosystems. The protected areas cover mostly marine territory and some relatively small terrestrial parts of the shoreline. Moreover, these attractive coastal environments, located in the proximity of Norway’s largest population centre, have since long been popular spaces for various forms of nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation activities such as boating, sun bathing, angling, camping, kayaking, windsurfing, scuba diving, etc. Many marinas, privately owned cabins, camping facilities, guesthouses, etc. also lead to a high and diverse visitation pressure in the protected areas. Our exploratory research is based on personal interviews with managers of the three national parks, conducted in October 2016, and analysis of relevant documents related to the National Park management. The qualitative data confirms that the national park management faces particular challenges in the coastal context connected to both the volume and the diversity of the visitation as well as accommodating tourism industry interests. The managers express that the inherited management regime originates from a period when there were mostly alpine national parks in the two countries. As a response to this deficiency, the coastal national park managers try to form professional networks amongst themselves and seek to learn from each other’s experiences and management practices.

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