I had the opportunity to go hiking in old-growth forest in Dalarna when I visited my good friend Gunilla in the village Furudal. She is one of the guides in the local Rättvik-based guide network GuideKullor. Gunilla also knows the guides and small business in the villages in and around Furudal, well . I had a great time trying out the delicious bread and pasty from the local Swedish countryside bakery Snitths Hantverksbageri and I bough new hiking boots from La Gunilla y sus Zapatos . Nevertheless the real lasting memory came from the guided hike in the old-growth forest by the industrial heritage site Furudal Bruk (Ironworks) . I walk right into a wonderful world of a unique forest with a knowledgeable and friendly guide.
Old-growth forest in Sweden
In Swedish National and Natural parks there are still places you can still find old-growth forest. The old-growth forest in Furudal is not yet “officially”a protected area. It should be! It has truly unique cultural and ecological features. I will glad to hear that the local village group “Ore-gruppen” has project to convince the owners of the forest to protect it.
The old-growth forests or virgin forest are of great age and without significant disturbance from humans.Therefore, the forests regain its natural life cycle. Our guide Katrine explained that ” in an old-growth forest there are trees of different kinds and of all ages. There are dead tree trunks, that still stand up. The fallen tree trunks slowly decompose on the ground. It constitutes a habitat for endangered species and it is vital for biodiversity and animal life”
The forest’s forgotten historical treasures
Our local guide Katrine runs the beautiful small and charming lakeside Holiday Apartment facility “Eriksdotters Brukslogi”.
She showed me the treasure of the forest and I also learned about the small scale pre-industrial business from different eras as far back as the Stone Age. I felt humbled to learn more about the the hard-working locals living and working in a beautiful but harsh environment. For example, Katrine showed us forest based limestone mines, the forest mills where the farmers took their grain , the traces of “kolmilor”· , construction set up in the middle for the forest for the production of charcoal . We also saw man-made pits belonging to the hunting pit system, probably dating back to the Iron Age.
Guided tour of about 2.5 hours. Coffee and cake by the creek in the midst of the forest.