Wilderness and culture in the Laponian World Heritage Area: Tourist views and experiences
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
UNESCO has designated several national parks in northern Sweden as a World Heritage Area based on the unique natural beauty and the long history of the Sami culture and the practices of reindeer herding. This area is also an important attraction for tourists. The Laponian World Heritage Area is often referred to as the last wilderness of Europe. The aim of the paper is to investigate how the landscape of the Laponian WHA is viewed and experienced and to discuss implications of the concept of wilderness. Back-country hikers were questioned and it is explored how they think about what kind of landscape they visit and how they think about wilderness and Sami culture and practices. The results show that hikers perceive Laponia as a wilderness area. In general, they use the term wilderness as a description of a defined area with pristine nature, wild animals, and few or no human influences and not a cultural landscape. This paper argues that the concept of wilderness is in need of a critical examination, and the implications of adopting the concept are explored further in this paper.
perception, back-country hiker, Sami reindeer herding, nature conservation, Swedish mountains
Research subject Human Geography
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-28952OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-28952DiVA: diva2:228142