National Parks, Outdoor Life and Health

Nordic Conference, Hotel Skaftafell, Freysnes, Iceland 5-7 May 2005

This report is a product of a conference held in Iceland in the spring of 2005. More than 100 people from the five Nordic countries, Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Latvia, Lithuania, Scotland and Canada, participated in the conference discussing national parks, outdoor life and health. Participants came both from the public sector and non-governmental organizations. The conference consisted of sessions with central themes, case studies and group discussion. Great emphasis was put on education and public awareness and on the importance of involving stakeholders and local people in the management of protected areas. There was a clear preference among many participants to protect large contiguous areas, rather than bits and pieces here and there, but within those larger areas there could be different level of protection. The importance of protected areas for public health was also discussed and the need to establish a more active dialogue between those working on public health and those in the field of nature conservation was emphasized. This conference report summarizes the main points of the presentations and gives results from group discussions.