Stetind in Narvik municipality is considered one of the country's finest climbing routes, and there is great interest in reaching the top. The large amount of traffic leaves its mark on the nature in the area, and the wear and tear on the hiking trail is particularly a problem. Now there is hope that innovative solutions can contribute to improvement.
Stetind was named Norway's national mountain in 2002 and is a landmark in the north with its 1,392 meters above sea level. The mountain has since time immemorial been a characteristic sailing mark for seafarers along the Nordland coast, and when the three municipalities of Ballangen, Narvik and Tysfjorden were merged in 2019, the mountain was chosen as the motif for the new joint municipal coat of arms.
Stetind is known for its wonderful nature and challenging climbing routes, and there are several operators in the area who guide small and large groups up and down to the top. Tore Bergbjørn is a trained summit guide and is among those who have the mountain as their second home when it is peak season for climbing and skiing.
- Stetind has everything - great scenery, fantastic views and different levels of difficulty on the routes you can travel on, he says.
- Tourism takes its toll on nature
Bergbjørn has experience from mountain activities in the Alps, USA, Peru and Patagonia in South America, but now that he and his wife live in Skjomen just south of Narvik, there are guided trips to Stetind, Kuglhorn, Eidetind, Storsteinsfjellet and other mountains around Efjord and Skjomen there are most of them throughout the year.
It is impossible to know how many hours the mountain-accustomed and Nordland resident heather spends in the mountains, but what is certain is that during all the trips he has made up and down Stetind, Bergbjørn has gained first-hand knowledge of how tourism and the visitor industry affects nature.
Wear and tear on paths and the areas in the immediate vicinity of where people travel is a growing problem.
- The need for maintenance on the path to Stetind is great in some places. Especially in those parts of the year when the snowmelt or precipitation is greatest, it is clear that the hiking trail should be upgraded. Whether it should be knocked down (kloppers are sticks and stone slabs that are laid out to get over bogs and waterways, journal note), or whether the path should be completely relaid, can certainly be debated, but measures must be initiated, believes Mountain bear.
Will develop a solution for common good financing
The labor effort is the biggest cost in such a project, but material costs must also be taken into account. Through the digitization project AURORAL, it is hoped to be able to find a new solution to obtain funds for the maintenance of tourism destinations.
Stetind is one of five destinations that Narvik municipality, together with local tourism players, has selected to be part of AURORAL, and which is now undergoing a test period. The project is part of the municipality's smart city initiative Smart Narvik. The goal in AURORAL is, among other things, to develop a digital solution for public good financing.
- In this way, we hope to finance measures that lead to better experiences and less wear and tear on nature, says program leader in Smart Narvik, Mikael af Ekenstam.
Bergbjørn believes that it should be possible to get the finances in place if you came up with a solution that made it easy for those traveling to Stetind to make a contribution.
He himself is happy to provide labor since he has many years of experience and knowledge from several different trail projects
I think tour buses will be successful
Another part of the AURORAL project is that everyone who travels in the mountains during the summer months of June, July and August will be counted digitally. It provides statistics that document the actual visit to Stetind, and which can say something about the actual burden on nature.
The numerical basis must also be used for commercial purposes. In the rural areas, the mobility offers are almost as good as in central areas, and by counting people and obtaining data on behavioral patterns, you get a knowledge base on whether it is possible to design, among other things, new transport services.
Bergbjørn has great faith in the mobility aspect of this summer's data collection.
- Based on my own experience through Bergbjørn Fjellservice, I would assume that tour buses to and from Stetind had been a great success, he says.
The third and last part that Narvik municipality and Smart Narvik have included in the test period in AURORAL are QR codes that tell the story of the place you visit. With the help of a smartphone, anyone visiting Stetind can scan QR codes along the path and have the story told through text and images. This summer, a story about the first ascent from 1910 has been made available, and from now on several parts of the rich history of Stetind will be able to be told in this way.
- Stetind has a name far beyond the borders of Narvik and Nordland. The mountain is my livelihood and it also means a lot to me and my wife personally. I am positive about all measures that help preserve nature and the areas around the mountain, says Tore Bergbjørn.
FACTS ABOUT AURORAL IN NARVIK:
- Narvik municipality is a partner in the international project AURORAL, which is part of the research and development program Horizon 2020.
- In AURORAL, in the period 2021-2024, we will work on developing and testing how digital platforms can make it easier to live and work in rural areas in various places in Europe.
- AURORAL has a total of 25 European partner organizations from 10 countries that participate in the project in various roles.
- The Hålogaland region is one of the pilot areas in the project, and the other six pilot areas are located in Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Austria, Italy and Spain.
- In Hålogaland, the following five destinations are more:
- Tore Hund's kingdom on Bjarkøy
- Beisfjord memorial grove
- In addition to the large project group, a local reference group has been put together in Narvik to give input to the pilot project and ensure that we do things that are relevant in view of the local needs.
- The reference group includes representatives from Visit Narvik, Hålogaland Council, Nordland County Council, Midtre Hålogaland Outdoor Recreation Council, Harstad Municipality as well as various tourism and transport companies. In addition, the residents are represented through Skjomen, Beisfjord and Kjøpsvik rural development groups.
SMART INNOVATION NORWAY:
Mikael of Ekenstam,
presenter Smart Narvik
Telephone: +47 906 300 82