This weekend a new nature experience was officially inaugurated in the heart of the Telemark region in Norway. The Treetop Walk in Hamaren Activity Park offers all nature lovers, regardless of age, disability or physical limitation, a new perspective on the mountainous pine forest of Fyresdal at 15 meters in the air. The canopy walkway in the historic region, known for its islands and fjords, is the first of its kind in Norway.
The one kilometer long and two meters wide plank boardwalk extends on pillars all the way from the forest floor, along lake Fyresvatn, up between the treetops, along the mountain ridge and up to the summit of Klokkarhamaren. At the end of the trail, a considerable circular viewpoint with a diameter of 50 meters provides a spectacular 360-degree view over the pine forest, clear lakes and rock formation that make up the natural landscape.
“The real task before us was to reconnect people with nature and create a design that would enhance the experience of the visitors – taking them on a slow and poetic walk through the forest canopy, culminating in a rush of excitement as they take in a scenic view of lake against sky at 60 meters above lake water level.
Although it is a small gesture in the bigger picture, we hope that granting people free and universal access to experience the sublime nature of this site, can serve as an example for others.” explained Tue Foged, one of the two founders of Copenhagen-based EFFEKT.
The wooden boardwalk structure is carefully designed as a response to the curvature of the mountain, sometimes following the mountain’s ridges and slopes, and sometimes bending out, creating viewpoints and dramatic drops where visitors can feel the wind in the treetops.
The walking trail, which is universally designed with a gentle incline, is suitable for pedestrians, cyclists, pushchairs and wheelchairs. It grew out of a heartfelt desire to give all people, regardless of physical abilities, the sensational feeling of walking amongst the treetops, according to Monica Sølyst, Project Lead at Faun Naturforvaltning.
“This is a great day for Faun Naturforvaltning and for Fyresdal Municipality! We have led this process since 2017 and it is extraordinary to see our idea come to life. EFFEKT quickly understood our idea and designed the Treetop Walk, ensuring a spectacular experience for all. The design and structure is beyond our wildest dreams! The Treetop Walk has already put Fyresdal on the map and we are looking forward to visits from near and far.” Said Sølyst.
The loadbearing structure as well as the boardwalk and railing are made from locally sourced pinewood. This way the structure literally blends in with existing pine trees on the mountain, sometimes giving the visual impression that the boardwalk levitates through the forest. To fulfill the vision of creating an experience that would add to the already beautiful natural setting and not destroy it, the EFFEKT team met up with local contractor Inge Aamlid.
Together they invented a simple wooden building system that is used throughout the whole tree-top walk. It uses only small and straight pre-fabbed elements, that can easily be handled with small machinery and by hand on site, to protect the nature during the building process.
When joined together the segments form an organic shape that bends around the trees and along the mountain. The building system made it possible for Aamlid to build the recreational walkway on location, using local timber and local craftsmanship techniques, nodding to the logging era in Fyresdal.
“We developed the design of the treetop walk during the pandemic lockdown, which meant no site visits. Instead, we had to send over GPS coordinates from topographic maps to Fyresdal Municipality who in turn took pictures of the landscape, allowing us to adjust the route according to the learnings from the actual site.
The process resulted in 3D-models, which enabled our local contractor to build the design of the boardwalk very precisely in the challenging terrain. We are quite amazed with the result of this beautiful co-creation process with Fyresdal Municipality and the local contractor!” Said Foged. Source by EFFEKT.
Location: Fyresdal, Norway
Client Consultant (initiator and advisor on the development of Hamaren Activity Park): Faun Naturforvaltning
Contractor: Inge Aamlid
Client: Fyresdal Municipality