I have earlier made an article about camping outside places approved for camping with tents and house trailers.
Now I would like to write about hiking tours and camping in the forest and in the mountains of Norway. In Norway we have the so called public access to land provisions in a law called the Outdoor life act. This act gives people the right to be out in the outfield which are areas outside infield areas such as fenced in properties and farms with cattle and grain. People have the same right to go for walks and hiking in the Norwegian mountains without restrictions after this law.
I know that it is big interest for this kind of holidays and shorter trips in the area where you live and you have the same right to outdoor life here in Norway when you visit the country like a tourist. The outdoor act is dated 28. of June 1957 and updated 19. of June 2020.
What is outdoor life in Norway.
Outdoor life in Norway is walking in the forest and other places outside so called infield areas and properties. You can just walk and experience the nature or you can fish, pick berries and practice hunting. If you would like to fish or hunt you have to get permission to do so and pay a license to practice it. For hunting you have to pay license both to the government and to the owner of the land or lake. If you just want to walk or pick berries you can do so for free.
In the northern part of Norway, in the counties Nordland, Troms and Finnmark you many places will need permission from the landowner to pick berries. This is especially when you would like to pick mullberries.
In the Outdoor life act it is several provisions that gives regulations for outdoor life. It is for instance an article that gives provisions for how long you can tent in the forest or outside infield areas. You can only place your tent such places for 2 days at a time. When you are high up in the mountain you can place your tent and be there as long as you like, but you have to place your camp in places where you not disturb other people or animals. It is the same rules in the low land areas. You have to camp more than 150 meters away from houses and infield areas. In the mountain areas the authorities can give provisions about outdoor life before and under the reindeer hunting period.
The outdoor life act give several definitions for how to behave and be in both areas with public access, paths to walk into such areas and near and out with boat on outfield lakes. It is also in the law given definitions for infield areas. I will here give some examples and refer translated articles from the law so you can understand how we think about this theme in Norway:
§ 1 a. (What is meant by infield and outfield.)
Infield or similar to infield is considered in this law courtyard, house plot, cultivated land, meadows and cultivated pastures as well as similar areas where public traffic will be unduly congested for owner or user. Uncultivated, smaller plots of land that lie in cultivated land or meadows or are fenced in together with such an area, are also counted equally with infield land. The same applies to areas for industrial or other special purposes where public traffic will be unduly congested for the owner, user or others.
By outfield, this Act means uncultivated land which according to the preceding paragraph is not counted as infield.
§ 2. (Traffic in open country.)
In the open field, anyone can travel on foot all year round, when it is done considerately and with due caution.
The same applies to traffic with riding or cloven-hoofed horses, toboggans, pedal bikes or the like on roads or paths in open country and everywhere in outlying areas in the mountains, unless the municipality with the consent of the owner or user has prohibited such traffic on specified routes.
Motor traffic in open country also applies to the Act on motor traffic in open land and watercourses.
§ 3. (Traffic in infield.)
In infields, anyone can travel on foot during the time the field is frozen or snow-covered, but not in the period from 30 April to 14 October. However, this right of way does not apply to courtyards or plots of land, fenced gardens or parks and other special-purpose fenced areas where the public’s winter traffic will be an undue congestion for the owner or user.
The owner or user may – regardless of fencing – prohibit traffic over gardens, planting fields, autumn-sown fields and replanting (attachments) even when the ground is frozen or snow-covered, provided the traffic is suitable for causing significant damage.
The county governor may, for the individual county or parts of it, decide that the period during which, pursuant to the first paragraph, it shall be unconditionally prohibited to travel in infield, is set shorter or longer than from 30 April to 14 October.
§ 4. (Traffic with motor vehicles and horse-drawn vehicles.)
Unless otherwise decided, the owner of a private road may prohibit the movement of horse-drawn vehicles, motor vehicles (including bicycles with an auxiliary motor) and parking of motor vehicles on or along the road.
On public roads, it is permitted to park in open country, provided that it does not cause significant damage or inconvenience.
§ 5. (The public’s right to harvest)
During outings, the general public can harvest wild nuts to be eaten on site and pick and take wild flowers, plants, berries and wild mushrooms, as well as roots of wild herbs, when done with care and with due care.
For mulberries on cloudberry land in Nordland, Troms and Finnmark, the first paragraph applies only when the owner or user has not imposed an explicit ban on picking. Regardless of such an explicit ban, the public can always pick mulberries that are eaten on site.
§ 6. (Traffic at sea and in watercourses.)
At sea, boat traffic is free for everyone. Traffic on frozen sea is also free for everyone.
On traffic on lakes and rivers (open or frozen watercourses), the rules in Act of 24 November 2000 no. 82 on watercourses and groundwater and Act of 10 June 1977 no. 82 on motor traffic in outlying areas and watercourses apply.
§ 7. (Landing and mooring of boat.)
During traffic, everyone has the right to land a boat on a stretch of beach in open country for a shorter period of time. It is not permitted to use the quay or jetty without the owner’s or user’s consent. Other mooring items (rings, bolts, etc.) in open country cannot be used if the owner or user has forbidden it. However, the owner or user may not oppose the use of such mooring equipment for a shorter period of time when the use can take place without undue repression for the owner or user.
I have here referred to the most important provisions that people who want to be out in the outfield in Norway have to know about. The Outdoor life act contains a lot of other provisions about how to behave in the outfield and regulations related to the law.
I will very briefly mention that it is provisions in the law about peoples duty to take with them trash after a camping session and replacement for damage if you don’t are careful when you are out in the outfield. I will also mention that most land in Norway is owned by private, but the state or government is also owner of huge land areas. Specially in the north of Norway.
The law has also provisions about which authority level that shall deal with the different themes in the law. It allows the authorities to tear down illegal buildings and other things placed in outfield areas.
In Norway we have several national parks, both in low land of Norway, up in the mountains and out in the sea. It is the government that decides to establish such areas and government authorities that are managing them. All those areas are defined as outfield areas and are attractive for walks and outdoor camping after the rules in the Outdoor life act.
The law has also provisions saying that an owner or user of an outfield area must not make it difficult for traffic, accommodation, swimming or harvesting that is permitted in this Act.
Without special authority, it is not permitted to put up signs or in any other way announce a ban on traffic, accommodation, swimming or harvesting that is permitted in this Act.
If someone puts up signs or does anything else that makes it difficult to walk in outfields areas the authorities are given permission in the law to remove such signs, barriers or other things that makes it difficult to walk or stay in an outfield area.
Both landowners and other people that gets penalties or restrictions from the authorities related to this law have the possibility to complain on the reaction due to a law similar with the United States law called Privacy act.
I have written of a part of this topic in one of my earlier articles. It was an article called wild camping in Norway and many other things related to this theme. I recommend you to read this article and my last article about outdoor life in Norway in context with each other.
I have in this article concentrated my efforts to write about stays in the outfields of Norway related to the law. It is so much to be said about this topic. I encourage you to plan a visit Norway to try to walk and stay in the outfields. I will recommend you to read you up on the topic hiking in the outfields and wilderness. You can find information about the topic in Norwegian tourist brochures and of course from google and other search engines on the net. You have to plan your travel and what to have with you, either for short walks or for a longer stays in the outfield. You have to think if you need to bring with a fishing rod or equipment for fishing.
In this corona times it is more difficult to come here like a tourist with travel and quarantine restrictions and other rules related to this situation. Today, the 10. of July 2020 the government have repealed the quarantine restrictions for people coming to Norway from almost every country in the EU, Schengen area. For other countries outside this area I will encourage you to read about the travel advises from the government regarding the corona situation before you start your journey to Norway. In the present situation you can be stopped at the boarder or airport and sent back to where you came from. If you are let in the country you have to go into quarantine before you start your holiday.
The corona situation changes all the time and the travel advices will be updated every second week here in Norway.
I hope things can normalize soon and that many of you that read this article can come to Norway and experience what a joy it is with outfield life.
If you have questions after reading my article, just write your questions in the contact area in my blog or give the article a comment.