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Hike: a few firm words from your spokesman on nature etiquette in Norway

Certainly, the title sounds much more tough than my intended message. However, in order to captivate attention for a matter of profound significance, I deemed it appropriate to select a slightly provocative heading. Sorry! This is due to the following reason. When venturing forth with one's backpack or camper, it doesn't take long before finding oneself amidst regions where the regulations of urban centers and civilized domains hold no sway.

In this instance, I am particularly referring to the management of waste and, well, all the other byproducts that we, as individuals, inevitably generate. I trust you comprehend my intention without my needing to explicitly enumerate each and every aspect. Thus, allow me to offer a gentle reminder concerning nature etiquette in Norway and how one can play the role of a conscientious Samaritan while traversing this splendid and majestic land.

Hikers in a landscape in Norway alongside a lake

First and foremost, it must be made clear that garbage trucks do not frequent hiking trails. It might sound obvious, but nevertheless, it seems necessary to mention, for all too often I encounter an array of litter in the middle of nowhere, items that certainly have no place there.

Envision this: you are meticulously planning a hiking vacation in Norway, with a desire to journey from one cabin to another. You intend to carry provisions for at least five days. This entails considering that you'll be carrying the waste from those five days along with you. Because when utilizing facilities such as those provided by the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT), the likelihood is high that these cabins are situated in such remote locales that waste disposal simply isn't an option. Therefore, carry your waste with you and dispose of it only once you return to inhabited regions.

Aligned with the earlier discourse, the subsequent matter holds significant import. During my travels across the nation last summer, I was taken aback by the volume of debris left by tourists at camping sites, on parking lots and on hiking trails: plastic packaging, cigarette butts, barbecues, candy wrappers, beer cans, soiled diapers, used tampons and what not.

Herein lies the issue: the responsibility of cleaning up this mess predominantly falls upon volunteers from for example Likefintsomfør, Rydde Norge and Litter Submitter. And that's not because Norway's treasury is depleted, but due to the sheer impracticality of maintaining every nook and cranny of this massive country. Thus, I beseech you in a polite yet earnest manner, that if you stumble upon any litter, do pick it up and carry it along in your camper. Ideally, do so when others are within view. For a positive example tends to elicit emulation. Moreover, it bestows upon oneself a sense of satisfaction. Have you ever heard of 'the broken window theory'? It aptly applies here in my modest opinion. In the absence of litter, fewer individuals will litter themselves.

The same as all the above holds true for Norway's expansive coastline. You can well imagine how challenging it is to keep 100,000 kilometers spotless. It might transpire that you've parked your camper somewhere, strolling along the shore when you come upon a fragment of discarded fishing net. No one else will remove it, so be a true gentleman or gentlewoman and retrieve it. It might seem like a mere drop in the ocean, yet if each visitor makes a modest contribution, the cumulative impact can be substantial.

Now, my final point, and congratulations on persevering through this quite extensive discourse. Human excrement. Particularly at tourist hotspots, human waste has evolved into a pronounced issue. Take Lofoten, for example. The predicament stems from our consumption of numerous foods containing high concentrations of preservatives. As a result, the breakdown of said waste takes an astonishingly long time. Consequently, this excrement often remains strewn across the mountaintops of Lofoten for several years. Hence, exercise mindfulness prior to embarking on a mountain ascent, considering the subsequent travelers who shall grace that summit. Make a quick pit stop or carry a waste containment pouch. The same applies to hygienic wipes, which do not degrade. Following their use, enclose them within a sealed zip bag and carry them off the mountain.

My gratitude, along with that of all other visitors and animals, is immense!


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