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Broad alliance to preseve the Utladal valley


Detailed description of the Good Practice

A broad alliance of local groups and businesses and a lot of free work by volunteers are combining to save the agricultural landscape and old buildings along the Utladal valley. This steep, narrow valley stretches from Øvre Årdal at the head of the Sognefjord up into the Jotunheimen mountains, which include the highest peaks in Norway. After the last farms in the valley were abandoned during the 1980's, the meadows and pastures were being reclaimed by forest and buildings were falling down.

In 1995, some property owners had joined together to restore thje buildings on the old Skåri farm at the lower end of the valley. Rigmor Solem of the Norwegian Nature Inspectorate then had the idea of creating a nature information centre at Skåri. An excursion was arranged in which a local hikers' club took part along with representatives of the Årdal Tourist Board, Årdal municipality, the county governor and Hydro Årdal (the Hydro concern has an aluminium smelter nearby). They became interested not just in the information centre, but in restoring the entire valley. Wallets were also opened, Hydro initially contributing NOK 300.000 to the project. Work soon started on restoring the Avdalen farm in the upper valley.

By thousands of hours of free work each year, along with money contributed by businesses, property owners, hikers, local and central government, some 35 buildings all along the valley had been restored by 1999, and "hopelessly" overgrown meadows and pastures had been re-opened. Each summer, the local enthusiasts get help from ten or so Norwegian and foreign students, who run the information centre, mow the meadows and look after sheep and goats that help keep pastures clear of trees and bushes. The centre is normally open form 20 June to 20 August.

stakeholders involvement
environment protection

Objectives of the Good Practice

to save the agricultural landscape and old buildings along the Utladal valley.

Participants of the Good Practice

property owners
local and central government

Target group of the Good Practice


More Details of the Good Practice

Documentation and documents

Available files

Contact details

Rigmor Solem, Statens Naturoppsyn
Telephone 61 36 71 71/947 36 975
Name Stiftelsen Utladal Naturhus
Address Pb. 28, 6884 Øvre Årdal
Telephone 57 66 15 70

Data sources and references

Stiftelsen Idebanken http://idebanken.no/english/Goodexamples/hoved.html (Accessed April, 10, 2009)