Mayor Anders Krokstad in Snillfjord Municipality spent the night in this tent. (Photo: Åge Røe / avisa-st.no).
The night between Tuesday and Wednesday this week, many Norwegians, including 193 of 428 Norwegian mayors, spent outdoors to mark the start of the Outdoor Recreation Year 2015 (Norwegian: Friluftslivets år 2015). In simple tents, or directly under the open sky, they braved the winter and Arctic cold to highlight how much they appreciate beautiful, untouched nature.
Norwegians are very enthusiastic about outdoor activities and spend much time in the open air. Of 5.1 million inhabitants, about 724,000 are members of the Norwegian Outdoor Life (Norwegian: Norsk friluftsliv) – an umbrella organization for 15 large organizations, including the Norwegian Trekking Association, Norwegian Red Cross Search and Rescue Corps and Norwegian Skiing Federation.
The Minister of Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft, also stayed outdoors in the forest outside Oslo. She slept in a Sami tent along with staff from the Ministry. In the neighboring tent stayed one of the Oslo scout groups, while some of the scouts slept directly under the stars.
On its website, the Outdoor Recreation Year 2015, a project run by the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Norwegian Environment Agency and Norwegian Outdoor Life, writes:
Outdoor activities provide good experiences, improved quality of life, better health and a richer life. The Outdoor Recreation Year 2015 is a national celebration of Norwegian outdoor life. The year provides a unique opportunity to highlight the range of outdoor activities, and to give all people the ownership of nature (…).
Mayor Anders Krokstad spent the night in a tent together with his daughter Elisabeth. (Photo: Åge Røe /avisa-st.no)
The goal is that the year will provide lasting results in terms of increased participation in outdoor activities in all parts of the population and help to give open-air activities further attention. It shall also provide increased awareness of positive effects related to public health
The project will also raise awareness about the right everyone in Norway has to use nature. Preferred target groups are children, youth and families.
In many other parts of the world, the opportunity to experience solitude in unspoiled nature has become so rare that many people are longing for it. Many Norwegians have understood that they are very privileged, and actively use the fjords, mountains and forests for hiking, training, good experiences and mental recreation.
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews