Junkerdal National Park is a classic for botanists, and when you walk here, you’re entering “holy ground”, in the footsteps of scientists of the past. Northern alpine saxifrage is the areas peculiarity and is a close relative of the stately pyramidal saxifrage, Norway’s national flower. The Northern alpine saxifrage has only been found in Junkerdal National Park, in addition to one locality in Troms.
The floral splendor can take the breath away from even a lesser experienced wandered. The white mountain avens is a magnificent sight and may grow in small mounds in the national park. The Lapland rosebay is a more seldom sight, but carpets the ground beautifully in purple where it is found.
Another peculiar species found in the national park is the Greenland sedge (Carex scirpoidea), which was discovered near Solvågtinden last century. This was attention worthy as the species had only been found on Greenland and in North America previously – way too far away for it to have spread here naturally. It is therefore known as a relic of the ice age, but researchers still wonder how it has survived. Perhaps on ice free banks along the coast or on peaks that broke through the massive ice plateau more than 10 000 years ago?
The Northern alpine saxifrage, hairy louswort and artic arnica (Photo: Oskar Pettersen)
Rough-legged buzzard(Photo: Kurt Erikstad)
The birdlife is rich and varied. The mountain ducks – common scoter, greater scaup, long-tailed duck and velvet scoter – make their home in the many smaller and bigger lakes of the national park. The areas around Rosna and Fuglvatnet are especially rich in birds. The long-tailed duck wears at least three different plumages throughout the year, but they are all variegated in white, brown and black, with fully dark wings. Their song is a nasal, sort of yodeling sound which is reminiscent of the clarinet! In Sami culture, the long-tailed duck’s song has inspired joik.
The endangered Lapland longspur also calls the national park its home. The population of Lapland longspurs have strongly declined in recent years, with researchers not knowing quite why. They are usually found resting in willow meadows. If you are unsure whether you are seeing a Lapland longspur or not, look for the orange spot at its nape.
The national park is also an important nesting area for birds of prey. A common sight in the national park is the rough-legged buzzard, recognizable by the dark spots on its wings and an almost mournful song if you get too close to their nest. During the nesting and breeding period it is important to be extra cautious when hiking in the habitat of these beautiful birds.
IKKE RELEVANT Junkerdal National Park is one of few places in Norway where you can encounter several of our bigger predators in one hike. Both the wolverine and lynx are found in the park, and roaming bears have also been known to find their way into the national park.
A small skulk of polar foxes call parts of the national park their home, and otters have also been known to visit the national park. Of the smaller animals, you’ll often run into the lemming, and the rich plant life of the national park also attracts rare butterflies like the arctic blue and northern clouded yellow.
Lemming (Photo: Inge Sollund Ingvaldsen)