Both rock carvings and rock paintings have been found around Björnlandet national park. From time to time, we still find traces of our ancestors and not only do the ancient trees provide the conditions for biodiversity, they are often the key to cultural preservation. The old trees and fell rocks are bursting with stories just waiting to be told. The national park preserves the biological cultural value of the forest.
The age of the Sámi forest
There are written sources about the use of land in the Åsele area that date back to the 17th century. At this time, the state introduced taxes and a population census. Sweden’s population was sparse, and reindeer husbandry took place around the lakes and fishing areas. The area was home to an exclusively Sámi population. Land areas were used by different Sámi families and later became known as the “Sámi tax lands”. In 1793, the Sámi Varnik Arvidsson created the new settlement of Häggsjö to the west of the park. Today, you can visit Varniksberget nature reserve to the south-west of the national park – another nod to the Sámi forest age. Evidence of the Sámi tradition of bark peeling has been found within the park.
The age of agriculture
At the start of the 19th century, farmers moved to the area. Shortly thereafter, an entire village with four estates had been established in Häggsjö. When the delimitation was finalised in 1884, the land around Häggsjö was separated alongside the accompanying crown forests, making some people large landowners almost overnight. The clearest traces left by the farmers are the manmade pastures that can be found around the park. Dams were built along the Björkbäck brook and at the outlet of lake Angsjö to dry out the marshes so they could be used for pasture. The dams turned the entire marsh system around the brook into pastureland.
The age of forestry
When boundary lines were drawn in 1896, there were only two freeholders. When a census was conducted in 1900, the population consisted of tenant farmers, foresters and two crofters. In 1903, the Gideå & Husum AB company was acquired by Mo och Domsjö AB, which later became Holmen Skog. The eastern part of the park continued to be the crown’s forest area. The traces of forestry are evident from the remains of timber houses (stables) and the dams that were made, as well as trail and boundary markings and the occasional carvings in trees that are now protected by the national park.