This content was written before 2019 when the number of county governor offices went from 16 to 10. The information may be outdated.

Protected areas

The greatest threat to natural diversity in Norway is the destruction and splitting up of the habitats of plants and wildlife alike. Nature reserves, national parks and other protected areas help to safeguard our natural heritage and preserve areas of international, national and regional value. Protected areas may also be established to safeguard the unique characteristics and cultural heritage of the Norwegian landscape.

Management of protected areas

The responsibility for managing protected areas is divided between central and local government authorities. In the majority of nature reserves, the County Governor is the authority responsible for this. Since 2010, municipalities whose territory encompasses national parks and larger conservation areas have been offered the chance to take over this management responsibility. A number of cross-municipal conservation boards have been established. Each board has a secretary who is employed by the state and who manages the conservation area.

These management authorities must first and foremost uphold the conservation rules and develop management and maintenance plans. They are also responsible for providing information and waymarking in protected areas. This is done in co-operation with Norwegian Nature Inspectorate.

Rambling rights in protected areas

The Right to Roam gives you the right to walk freely in protected areas. This right must be exercised with consideration, so that animals and plants are not harmed or disturbed. In specific areas, walking may be prohibited at certain times of year, such as during breeding and nesting seasons. Out of consideration for wildlife, it is forbidden to hunt in bird sanctuaries and a number of nature reserves, but in many protected areas you are allowed to hunt and fish as long as you have a valid hunting or fishing licence. You are free to pick berries and mushrooms.

One objective is to restrict the use of motorised vehicles in protected areas. This is out of consideration for plant and animal life, to prevent damage caused by tyre tracks and so that it is possible to experience nature without the distraction of noise.

Show more