Granite is the dominant rock in the high mountain terrain. Although much of it is barren, where there are pockets and belts of calcareous rock you find Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala), Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) and Purple Mountain Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia). You may discover Red Alpine Catchfly (Silene alpina), a small carnation-like flower that thrives in soil containing heavy metals. Another undemanding alpine plant that also thrives along the shore is Rose Root (Rhodiola rosea), which is medicinal and is said to be an aphrodisiac!

The old forests are rich in mushrooms and lichens. In mountain birch woods and old pastures, you will often see an amazingly colourful sea of flowers in July: Globeflower (Trollius europaeus), Red Campion (Silene dioica), Alpine Sow-Thistle (Cicerbita alpina) and Northern Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum). In the temperate deciduous forests along sheltered fjords, elm and hazel rise above the lush forest floor. Other plants that grow there include Sweetscented Bedstraw (Gallium odoratum), an herb with tiny white flowers that thrives in shaded calcareous soil. Spring Vetch (Lathyrus vernus) has purple flowers and blooms in May, as does Early-Purple Orchid. These species and many more thrive on hillsides with sunny southern exposure. The most magnificent orchid found in Norway, Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), which prefers calcareous soil and open woodlands, is found several places in Lomsdal-Visten. When this orchid flowers in June, you may well find yourself enchanted, but please leave it undisturbed so it may be enjoyed by other visitors to our national park.

Lady’s slipper (cypripedium calceolus). Photo Carl Norberg.

Mycena – or for nonfungeral experts: Little brown mushroom! Photo Carl Norberg.

Did you know there are rainforests in Norway? Lomsdal-Visten National Park contains several areas of so-called boreal rainforest. These are moist coastal forests dominated by spruce, with lots of lichen. To hikers, marshes may be annoying obstacles, but many plants thrive in minerotrophic bogs – bogs that are rich in nutrients. The flora includes many species that demand calcareous soil, including Marsh Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Early Marsh-Orchid (Dactylorhiza incarnata), the rare Lapland Marsh-Orchid (Dactylorhiza lapponica), and the even rarer Arctic Meadow-Rue (Thalictrum alpinum) with its beautiful little yellow-violet bells.

 

Today, not many people have knowledge of plant properties and their uses. In times past, however, alpine plants were vital sources of key vitamins. Mountain Sorrel (Oxyria digyna) and Norwegian Angelica (Angelica archangelica) are rich in vitamin C, while Alpine Sow-Thistle (Cicerbita alpina) is revitalising and restores your appetite. The indigenous Sámi people, who have an intimate familiarity with the land, gathered and cooked Alpine Sow-Thistle together with Mountain Sorrel or Norwegian Angelica. They added reindeer milk to this sour mixture (gompe). Alpine Sow-Thistle served as a digestive as well as an important source of vitamin C, which was vital during times when their diet might otherwise become too unvaried.

The national park has a variety of habitats that attract richly varied birdlife. Six of Norway’s seven woodpecker species nest in Lomsdal-Visten, as do a large number of red-throated and black-throated loons. The golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, gyrfalcon, rough-legged hawk and other birds of prey also hunt and nest here. The presence of these reclusive birds are testimony to the area’s pristine and undisturbed character.

Peregrine. Photos Steinar Myhr (peregrine on rock) and Gunnar Rofstad (flying peregrine).

Wolwerinetracks heading Vistmannen. Photo Carl Norberg.

 

The fauna in Lomsdal-Visten National Park is representative of the Helgeland region. Lynx and wolverine are the most common mammalian predators, but bear do occasionally wander these tracts.

Great geological variations

The many types of bedrock provide habitats for a richly varied flora. Many different plant species can be found on the lush hillsides along the sheltered fjords, in the deciduous woods and in the old conifer forests. Also found are species of moss, lichen and fungus that require very specific conditions to thrive. Grey-white granite dominates the high-mountain terrain, from Storbørja and through Lomsdalen valley up to Nedre Grunnvant lake, and farther northwards past the Visttindane peaks and westward towards Indre Visten. East of the Breivatnan lakes, and towards the Jordbruvatnan and Gåsvatnet lakes, the bedrock is mostly mica gneiss, and there is one area with marble. West of the granite, between Indre Visten and southwards past Laksmarka to Storbørja, is a belt of mica gneiss interspersed with calcareous marble.

Granite is the dominant rock in the high mountain terrain. Although much of it is barren, where there are pockets and belts of calcareous rock you find Mountain Avens (Dryas octopetala), Moss Campion (Silene acaulis) and Purple Mountain Saxifrage (Saxifraga oppositifolia). You may discover Red Alpine Catchfly (Silene alpina), a small carnation-like flower that thrives in soil containing heavy metals. Another undemanding alpine plant that also thrives along the shore is Rose Root (Rhodiola rosea), which is medicinal and is said to be an aphrodisiac!

The old forests are rich in mushrooms and lichens. In mountain birch woods and old pastures, you will often see an amazingly colourful sea of flowers in July: Globeflower (Trollius europaeus), Red Campion (Silene dioica), Alpine Sow-Thistle (Cicerbita alpina) and Northern Wolfsbane (Aconitum lycoctonum). In the temperate deciduous forests along sheltered fjords, elm and hazel rise above the lush forest floor. Other plants that grow there include Sweetscented Bedstraw (Gallium odoratum), an herb with tiny white flowers that thrives in shaded calcareous soil. Spring Vetch (Lathyrus vernus) has purple flowers and blooms in May, as does Early-Purple Orchid. These species and many more thrive on hillsides with sunny southern exposure. The most magnificent orchid found in Norway, Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium calceolus), which prefers calcareous soil and open woodlands, is found several places in Lomsdal-Visten. When this orchid flowers in June, you may well find yourself enchanted, but please leave it undisturbed so it may be enjoyed by other visitors to our national park.

Limestone at Jordbrufjellet. Photo Carl Norberg.

Great geological variations

The many types of bedrock provide habitats for a richly varied flora. Many different plant species can be found on the lush hillsides along the sheltered fjords, in the deciduous woods and in the old conifer forests. Also found are species of moss, lichen and fungus that require very specific conditions to thrive. Grey-white granite dominates the high-mountain terrain, from Storbørja and through Lomsdalen valley up to Nedre Grunnvant lake, and farther northwards past the Visttindane peaks and westward towards Indre Visten. East of the Breivatnan lakes, and towards the Jordbruvatnan and Gåsvatnet lakes, the bedrock is mostly mica gneiss, and there is one area with marble. West of the granite, between Indre Visten and southwards past Laksmarka to Storbørja, is a belt of mica gneiss interspersed with calcareous marble.

Far west, between the Velfjord and Visten, exists another rock type called Andalshatten granite, which is coarsely grained and has large crystals of alkali-feldspar. Throughout the area, calciferous bedrock belts provide excellent conditions for many alpine plants.

There are also limestone pockets and veins of marble, punctured with caves and karst formations that have been created by the slow dissolution of rocks such as limestone, gypsum or dolomite. The caves and karst topography of Lomsdal-Visten National Park is protected. The valley of Jordbrudalen has caves and a striking canyon, with a river that runs below as well as above ground.

Caves and karst formations are fragile and vulnerable. Please follow these simple rules:

  • Take nothing – except photographs
  • Leave nothing – except footprints
  • Kill nothing – except time.
The mountains of Lomsdal-Visten mainly consist of granite. Photo Carl Norberg.