When it comes to nature, there is no greater proof of quality than the appointment "national park". 2018 is the year of the inauguration of Åsnen National Park, which also is an official acknowledgement that the natural values of the area are unique and of international interest. Åsnen National Park is approx. 19 square kilometres, of which 75% is water.
The mosaic of different natural habitats offers a magnificent crossbreeding of northern and southern natural values. White-tailed Eagles, Ospreys and Black-throated Divers meet Bitterns, Red Kites and Red-breasted Flycatchers. Moose, otters and lynx can be found here, as well as red squirrels and roe deer.
Old deciduous forests with rare mosses, lichen and fungi are interspersed with coniferous forests, lingonberry plants and marshland. Many of the environments are home to birds, plants and insects that have become rare or disappeared elsewhere when the landscape has changed.
Åsnen National Park also has a distinctive and atmospheric lake archipelago, where silence encloses uninhabited islands and islets which have not had any human impact for a long time, and old trees are reflected in the dark water of the lake.
Through the national park, several of the environments have been made accessible. The possibilities for great nature experiences therefore are very generous. Paddle through Åsnen’s waters. Wander through lush deciduous forests and recharge your batteries to the song of the thrush. Or stand by the shores of the lake at dusk in spring and listen to the whizzing wings of the Common Goldeneye while the owls hoot at the stars lighting up the March evening sky.
Some of the national park’s places to visit are well-organized with everything from resting places, toilets and fireplaces, to marked walking paths and waterfront wooden decks where you can pack up your picnic basket or just enjoy the view of Åsnen’s islands and water.
The national park’s main entrance is at Sunnabron, along the strait to Åsnen’s largest island, Sirkön. Walking paths lead to the nearby Bjurkärr which belongs to Sweden’s most valuable deciduous forest with rich bird life and the presence of rare insects, mosses and lichens which are of international calibre.
In the western part of Åsnen, the national park’s second entrance in Trollberget greets you and presents Åsnen in a miniature version with everything from deciduous forest to pine trees, fir trees, lake beaches and marshy forest on a small surface. The gap in the rocks where the trolls celebrated Christmas, as well as the walking path “The forest path in the five-forest kingdom”, is appreciated by children and families with children.
In order to reach the islands of the national park either a boat or a kayak is required, as well as being prepared for some hardships. This is the wilderness, with uninhabited islands without any facilities. Please note that the birdlife of the archipelago is very sensitive. During the period 1 April – 31 July, it is not allowed to access the northern parts of Bergön in order to protect breeding birds. The same goes for the northern parts of Södra Aspö as well as several of the other islands in Åsnen.
Original text in Swedish provided by Mikael Persson, one of the authors of the guide book “ÅSNENS NATUR”.
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